Tim Vickery Column: That Brazilian conveyor belt of talent

Wendell the latest revelation for Grêmio - Action Images
Brazil continue to craft talented players week in, week out with Grêmio producing two fine defenders recently but can they find another with important Copa Libertadores matches coming up and how will the latest conveyor belt of youngster cope with expectation.

One of the greatest things about covering Brazilian football is the opportunity to get an early glance at the future stars of the global game.  The production line of talent never stops working, there are always promising new players appearing.  Some will fall by the wayside, others will become household names all over the world, and it is fun to spot them early and follow their progress.

Let us take the example of Gremio.  Last year. For their Libertadores campaign, they repatriated left back Andre Santos from Arsenal .  The team were knocked out of the competition relatively early, he was not a spectacular success and moved on to Flamengo – leaving space for Alex Telles to make the position his own.

The youngster had a splendid season in the Brazilian Championship, being voted in most surveys as the best left back in the competition.  I was lucky enough to be in the stadium when he scored his only goal for Gremio, a cracking effort that won a vital game against Botafogo.  He will not be scoring any more for the club – not for a while, at least.  Alex Telles has already left Gremio, and is now playing for Galatasaray in the Champions League.

Back in Porto Alegre, though, he hardly seems to have been missed.  His sale has given the chance for Wendell to be promoted, and the 20 year old has already made a big impression – so big, in fact, that he too has already been sold.  In the middle of the year he joins Bayer Leverkeusen in Germany.  And so the conveyor belt keeps moving on.

Wendell’s young team-mate, support striker Luan, has made an even bigger impression.  Thrown in the deep end in the Copa Libertadores, where Gremio have been drawn in a very difficult group, Luan is making things look easy.  What is striking about him is not only his natural ability.  It is capacity to operate in a collective context, his vision of the game and the maturity of the decisions he is taking on the field.  Two months ago he was an unknown.  Now, he is surrounded by huge expectations.

All of this is quite extraordinary.  There is no other country in the world, not even Argentina, where promising players are revealed with such frequency.  Spend a month away from Brazil and you are already out of date; new players will have emerged in your absence.  Of course, by no means all of them will fulfil that early promise.  There is no other profession which contains such a huge step up; within a matter of weeks a youngster can go from being an anonymous youth team player to someone whose work is being assessed by thousands inside the stadium and millions following via the media.  This brings brutal changes in lifestyle, psychological pressures, new financial opportunities and a change in daily routine that can be thoroughly disorientating.  It is no surprise that lots of these players find these changes too difficult to assimilate.  There is a huge gap between promise and reality.

Luck, as always, plays a part – and not just in terms of injuries or first team opportunities.  There is also the crucial point of who the young player is surrounded by and what their motivation might be.

How does his family react to his progress?  There are plenty of such cases in Brazil where, when the youngster starts showing real promise, his entire family stop work and construct all their economic hopes on his football ability – a pressure which can only be described as inhumane.  They might want him to accept the first big money offer that comes in, regardless of whether it is in the long term interests of his career.

The same can apply with agents or investors looking for a short term profit, or clubs desperate for a sale in order to pay off a backlog of wages.

Thursday is a big day in the careers of the Gremio youngsters.  The team have won their first two games in the Copa Libertadores, but the next three are the trickiest.  On April 2nd they travel to Medellin for a difficult match away to Atletico Nacional of Colombia.  And before that come home and away clashes against Newells Old Boys of Argentina, an attractive side spearheaded by Maxi Rodriguez, with the passing ability of Ever Banega and the experience of David Trezeguet in reserve.  Winning the Libertadores is an obsession for Newells, who lost last year on penalties in the semi final to eventual champions Atletico Mineiro.  The 2014 model Newells will be all out to prove themselves against Brazilian opposition, next week in front of their own fans in Rosario, and this Thursday in Gremio’s new Arena.

Can Luan continue to shine in these difficult circumstances?  There is no guarantee that Wendell will be available for the first match.  He is suffering from a thigh strain.  It might be beyond even Brazil’s conveyor belt of talent to produce a new left back in time for Thursday.

Read more:

> Tim Vickery Column: One door opening for Clarence Seedorf closes another; we just wish it wasn’t so soon
> Tim Vickery Column: Strength in numbers needed by Brazilian clubs in Copa Libertadores
> Tim Vickery Column: Uruguay helped Brazilian football find its own path
 



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October 24, 2014
15:24'No chance' of Paulino loan says Tottenham boss Pochettino
15:19Hoffenheim's Firmino delighted with call up for Brazil
15:17FC Goa manager Zico unhappy with Atlético de Kolkata defeat
15:10Pochettino rules out Paulinho departure to Corinthians
14:13Kaká confident he can help Brazil over the short-term
13:18Leandro Damiao risks a six-match suspension
13:13Neymar congratulates Pele
13:06Assistant Toni Grande admits "it was a relief" when Diego Costa finally scored for Spain
13:04Arsenal and Manchester United chase Mario Fernandes
12:54Report: Juventus set to target Cruzeiro midfielder Everton Ribeiro in January
October 23, 2014
23:25Report: Milan join race for Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
23:14Head Coach Dunga refuses to confirm whether Neymar or Thiago Silva will captain Brazil
23:10Brazil Head Coach Dunga hopes Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano can help "create an alternative approach"
17:34Brazil remain sixth on FIFA ranking
17:27Pele, King of Football, celebrates 74th birthday
17:22Atlético de Madrid defender Guilherme Siqueira hails team-mate Koke after role in Malmö FF victory
17:18Dunga imposes new rules - here is a short list
15:44Head Coach Dunga names three debutants in Brazil squad to face Turkey and Austria next month
October 22, 2014
22:51Mário Fernandes believes CSKA Moscow's comeback against Manchester City has kept them in the Champions League
17:54David Luiz: “In every game we need to improve"
17:51Lionel Messi: “It is good that Neymar and I are in form together"
15:03Ralf may return to action at Corinthians after month-long absence
14:13Everton Ribeiro hopes he can play more for Brazil
14:07Neymar: "Messi remains the best"
13:58Arsenal scouted Anderson Talisca
13:47Italian press accuses Robinho of gang rape
11:36Ajax manager Frank de Boer compares Lionel Messi and Neymar to Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale
11:27David Luiz admits Paris Saint-Germain had a "tough match" against APOEL
11:22David Luiz pleased to be back alongside Thiago Silva in Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 over APEOL
10:03Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano: "It was very special for me to score five times"
09:57Luiz Adriano thanks team-mates after five goal haul in Shakhtar Donetsk's 7-0 win over BATE Borisov
October 21, 2014
22:56Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano enjoys record breaking night in the Champions League
22:33Report: Real Madrid target to Bayern Munich's David Alaba if Marcelo leaves next summer
21:161994 World Cup winning Head Coach Carlos Alberto Perreira believes Brazil must regain their identity
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20:30Former Santos President Luis Alvaro de Oliveira claims Neymar's father received €3 million from Barcelona
19:04Referee Gianluca Rocchi admits he could have handled Maicon penalty incident better
16:35Fernandinho hopes Manchester City can emulate Bayern Munich in "must win" tie against CSKA Moscow
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13:05Jose Maria Marin claims Brazil has found its pride again
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12:26Sao Paulo cancel their training camp in the USA
12:17Kaka defends his return to the Brazilian team
October 20, 2014
23:09 José Mourinho praises Dunga despite frustration over lack of communication with international managers
18:42Chelsea manager José Mourinho bemoans Diego Costa injury
15:35Report: Internazionale latest club to join race to sign Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
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October 24, 2014
14:13Kaká confident he can help Brazil over the short-term
October 23, 2014
23:14Head Coach Dunga refuses to confirm whether Neymar or Thiago Silva will captain Brazil
23:10Brazil Head Coach Dunga hopes Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano can help "create an alternative approach"
October 21, 2014
21:161994 World Cup winning Head Coach Carlos Alberto Perreira believes Brazil must regain their identity
October 20, 2014
23:09 José Mourinho praises Dunga despite frustration over lack of communication with international managers
October 18, 2014
21:55Carlos Alberto Parreira: Dunga's "been doing a good job"
October 16, 2014
17:18Dunga’s Most Important Players
October 15, 2014
16:24Santos forward Robinho: Brazil want to "win the World Cup in Russia"
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October 14, 2014
22:43CSKA Moscow defender Mário Fernandes hopes he "pleased Dunga" with Brazil debut
22:38Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson pleased late save against Japan kept clean sheet run intact
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13:59Brazil destroy Japan thanks to a fantastic Neymar
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October 13, 2014
15:57Internazionale defender Yuto Nagatomo insists Japan must play as a team against Brazil
15:52Japan Head Coach Javier Aguirre "relaxed" ahead of Brazil friendly
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October 12, 2014
22:38Neymar unconcerned with physical approach during Brazil's 2-0 win over Argentian
22:34Brazil Head Coach Dunga insists Argentina win "gives huge confidence to the players"
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October 10, 2014
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October 09, 2014
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22:45Brazil Olympic squad line up announced for Bolivia friendly
22:35Corinthians defender Gil believes Seleção team-mate Neymar is better than Lionel Messi
22:13Sambafoot is recruiting!
20:55Japan recall Kagawa for Brazil clash
October 08, 2014
12:11Sebastian Coe doubts a men's Great British football team will compete at 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
October 07, 2014
23:28CBF announce Brazil friendlies against Austria and Turkey in November
23:09Report: Brazil Head Coach Dunga monitoring Guangzhou Evergrande forward Elkeson
22:45Paris Saint-Germain defender Maxwell hints this could be his last season
October 06, 2014
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12:16Kaká wants Brazil to follow Germany model
October 03, 2014
22:03Internazionale defender Juan Jesus pleased with Brazil recall
21:58Internazionale defender Juan Jesus latest player to be brought into Brazil squad following injury to Marquinhos
17:26São Paulo executive Ataide Gil disappointed to lose Kaká to Brazil
17:12Grêmio goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe brought into Brazil squad for Argentina and Japan friendlies
October 01, 2014
15:54Japan squad named for friendlies against Brazil and Jamaica
September 30, 2014
08:34Brazil drawn in Group B alongside holders Colombia for 2015 U-20 South American Championship
September 24, 2014
22:13Brazilian Football Confederation President José Maria Marin wants Germany rematch
September 22, 2014
22:09Argentina squad named for next month's friendly against Brazil
June 26, 2014
14:33Report: Flamengo one of eight clubs who have enquired about loaning Internazionale midfielder Rubén Botta
June 16, 2014
11:35Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari backs Portugal to recovery from heavy Germany defeat
June 09, 2014
23:18Italy forward Lorenzo Insigne insists Italy’s poor defending in victory against Fluminense is “not important”
23:12Italy forward Ciro Immobile “excited” with hat-trick against Fluminense
22:56Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli pleased with Fluminense victory
22:52Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli delighted with Brazilian support
June 07, 2014
23:32Italy line up confirmed for Fluminense friendly
May 19, 2014
22:13Portugal Manager Paulo Bento names his 23-man 2014 FIFA World Cup squad
May 18, 2014
19:09Sambafoot Sunday: Botafogo's Shaky Start to 2014
April 13, 2014
08:34Sambafoot Sunday: Brazilian Clubs' Libertadores Numbers Game
April 06, 2014
09:20Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Mineiro's Anelka Interest Should be the Norm
February 14, 2014
12:23Shakhtar Donetsk: President decided to support Maicon’s family
February 09, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Where’s Wallyson? Botafogo find their new hero post-Seedorf
January 26, 2014
10:09Sambafoot Sunday: Cruciate curse affects Seleção hopes of three midfielders
December 01, 2013
13:36Sambafoot Sunday: Could Éverton Ribeiro Crack Europe?
November 25, 2013
11:39Brasileirão Week 36 round up: Vasco shock champions to stay in contention while defeat leaves Ponte Preta on the brink
November 24, 2013
10:17Sambafoot Sunday: Palmeiras Promoted with Chapecoense in Tow
November 17, 2013
12:00Palmeiras secure Brasileirão Série B title with 3-0 win against Boa Esporte
November 12, 2013
08:42Relegation threatened Fluminense sack head coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo
November 10, 2013
12:59Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Paranaense's hurricane season
November 09, 2013
10:05Drummer angers Flamengo fans
November 04, 2013
13:04Brasileirão week 32 round-up: Big win for Vasco as in-form Goiás maintain top four push
November 03, 2013
17:31Sambafoot Sunday: Surprise Packages in the 2013 Brasileirão
October 28, 2013
11:31Brasileirão Week 31 round up: Vital win for Ponte Preta while Goiás maintain top four push
October 21, 2013
13:21Olympique Marseille without defender Lucas Mendes for Napoli fixture
12:12Injury rules Bayern Munich defender Dante out of Viktoria Plzeň tie
October 20, 2013
23:50São Paulo president Juvenal Juvêncio admits interest in Lucas Moura loan return
October 18, 2013
11:47Diego Maradona dispute’s Pelé’s FIFA recognition
09:04Del Bosque: Costa approach no insult to current strikers
October 17, 2013
21:43Hard work is paying off insists Bayern Munich defender Rafinha
13:17Rodrigo Lasmar: Ronaldinho on track to be fit for the Club World Cup
October 16, 2013
19:53Report: Tottenham Hotspur set to offer Paulinho extended deal
09:12Report: São Paulo could terminate Lúcio’s contract if injury concerns prevail
October 13, 2013
18:32Brasileirão: Grêmio slip up as Vitoria and Santos grab victories
14:49Vanderlei Luxemburgo: ‘Simulation part of football’
October 09, 2013
20:37Mineiro learn Club World Cup fate
October 06, 2013
22:39Oswaldo de Oliveira in hospital after Botafogo defeat
11:55Sambafoot Sunday: Cruzeiro cruising at the top of the Brasileirão
October 04, 2013
23:52Internacional manager Dunga sacked
September 14, 2013
14:29Guerrero: Corinthians can still be champions
September 11, 2013
20:49Roberto Carlos: Anzhi could collapse
14:57Exeter City play down Brazil fears
September 07, 2013
14:12Atlético Madrid's Filipe Luis: Barca-Madrid dominance an injustice
September 06, 2013
19:04Santos announce tour of South East Asia
18:42São Paulo slump to defeat as Rogerio Ceni misses penalty
September 05, 2013
19:17Cruzeiro go four points clear after defeating Bahia
18:43Romário and Maradona fight against CONMEBOL corruption
September 03, 2013
21:29Marcelo Mattos says Botafogo will overcome difficulties
20:54Réver believes Atlético Mineiro can challenge for Brazilian title
September 02, 2013
23:21São Paulo to honour Brazil legend Leonidas da Silva
October 24, 2014
15:17FC Goa manager Zico unhappy with Atlético de Kolkata defeat
13:06Assistant Toni Grande admits "it was a relief" when Diego Costa finally scored for Spain
12:54Report: Juventus set to target Cruzeiro midfielder Everton Ribeiro in January
October 23, 2014
23:25Report: Milan join race for Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
17:22Atlético de Madrid defender Guilherme Siqueira hails team-mate Koke after role in Malmö FF victory
15:44Head Coach Dunga names three debutants in Brazil squad to face Turkey and Austria next month
October 22, 2014
22:51Mário Fernandes believes CSKA Moscow's comeback against Manchester City has kept them in the Champions League
17:54David Luiz: “In every game we need to improve"
17:51Lionel Messi: “It is good that Neymar and I are in form together"
11:36Ajax manager Frank de Boer compares Lionel Messi and Neymar to Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale
11:27David Luiz admits Paris Saint-Germain had a "tough match" against APOEL
11:22David Luiz pleased to be back alongside Thiago Silva in Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 over APEOL
10:03Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano: "It was very special for me to score five times"
09:57Luiz Adriano thanks team-mates after five goal haul in Shakhtar Donetsk's 7-0 win over BATE Borisov
October 21, 2014
22:56Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano enjoys record breaking night in the Champions League
22:33Report: Real Madrid target to Bayern Munich's David Alaba if Marcelo leaves next summer
20:36Neymar admits he now feels more settled at Barcelona
20:30Former Santos President Luis Alvaro de Oliveira claims Neymar's father received €3 million from Barcelona
19:04Referee Gianluca Rocchi admits he could have handled Maicon penalty incident better
16:35Fernandinho hopes Manchester City can emulate Bayern Munich in "must win" tie against CSKA Moscow
16:00Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho believes empty Arena Khimki will hinder CSKA Moscow clash
October 20, 2014
18:42Chelsea manager José Mourinho bemoans Diego Costa injury
15:35Report: Internazionale latest club to join race to sign Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
15:34Chelsea manager José Mourinho hails development of "number ten" Oscar
11:53Report: Manchester United to target Torino wing-back Matteo Darmian as alternative to Barcelona's Daniel Alves
11:40Barcelona Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta expects contract talks with defender Daniel Alves
10:44Hernanes hails Internazionale character and believes he's getting back to his best
10:35Internazionale midfielder Hernanes: "The season is beginning from this moment"
10:21Brasileirão round 29: Team of the week
October 18, 2014
22:01Daniel Alves' agent Dinah Santana admits the defender looks likely to leave Barcelona next summer
12:49Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto insists he would never join rivals Juventus
12:41Goalkeeper Neto hoping to remain in Europe if Fiorentina renewal doesn't materialise
10:35FIFA agent Francois Gallardo claims Barcelona defender Daniel Alves has already agreed to join Manchester United
October 17, 2014
15:07Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock hails Chelsea duo Diego Costa and Oscar
15:00Cruzeiro forward Júlio Baptista admits Real Madrid regrets and hails Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos
13:50Júlio Baptista: Lucas Silva would "fit in very nicely at Real Madrid"
13:42Cruzeiro forward Júlio Baptista admits joining Real Madrid "would be a wise move" for team-mate Lucas Silva
13:35Santos forward Leandro Damião could be set for six match ban following "shirt pull"
October 16, 2014
23:37Celta de Vigo forward Charles willing to be patient despite lack of playing time
23:24Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva admits he would like to play for Real Madrid
15:53Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva "proud and happy" with reported Real Madrid interest
15:46Roma defender Maicon believes "referee’s mistakes did affect" 3-2 defeat to Juventus
15:40Roma defender Maicon against video replays
October 15, 2014
20:16Bayern Munich Sporting Director Matthias Sammer hopes for speedy Thiago recovery
20:08Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago "profoundly disappointed and upset" with injury setback
19:53Report: Chelsea to compete with Real Madrid for Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
19:42Foot injury ends Internacional defender Juan's season
12:13Multiple British teams monitoring K. Lierse S.K. winger Wamberto
11:35Defender Alex admits Milan must improve defensively
11:27Report: Arsenal set to compete with Chelsea for Benfica attacking midfielder Talisca
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