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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July 22, 2014
13:47New Chelsea signing Filipe Luís confident he will fit in perfectly at Stamford Bridge
13:31Filipe Luís looking forward to working with Chelsea manager José Mourinho
13:25Kaka nearing Sao Paulo debut
13:15Former Brazil U-20 coach Lourenco claims he and Dunga never spoke in the past
12:44Report: Juventus and Roma could move for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Douglas Costa following refusal to return to Ukraine
12:25Flamengo to keep hold of Ney Franco as manager- for now
12:251994 World Cup winner Jorginho set to be Brazil assistant manager again
12:14Former Palmeiras midfielder Valdivia has not moved to the Middle East for money
12:04Manchester United's Anderson criticised by ex-international Tostao
12:03Brazil set to name Luiz Felipe Scolari’s replacement this afternoon
11:44Former Brazil national team forward Adriano set for another comeback?
July 21, 2014
23:53Report: Barcelona to target São Paulo defender Rodrigo Caio
23:47La Liga newcomers Córdoba confirm the loan signing of forward Ryder Matos from Fiorentina
23:45Robinho taking his time over his next move
23:42Serie B newcomers Perugia sign veteran midfielder Rodrigo Taddei on a free transfer from Roma
23:352014 Brasileirão Round 11 summary: Internacional thump struggling Flamengo
23:25Palmeiras forward Henrique disappointed with his miss versus Cruzeiro
23:10Former Arsenal defender André Santos describes attack by Flamengo fans
23:04Deivid hailed by Atlético Paranaense head coach Doriva following Criciuma victory
22:30Atlético Paranaense head coach Doriva praises supporters and forwards
16:06Palmeiras defender Lúcio apologises to Cruzeiro’s Manoel
15:32Manchester United full-back Rafael da Silva relishing opportunity to work with Louis van Gaal
15:17Neymar: Brazil has fallen behind Germany and Spain
14:53Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale reflects on a “wonderful occasion”
14:46Fluminense 0-0 Exeter City
10:06Ricardo Goulart scores again as Cruzeiro build championship lead
08:30Andre Santos attacked by supporter after Flamengo thumped by Internacional
08:16Orlando City president confirms Robinho interest after Kaka swoop
08:07Juan Zuniga's father reveals continued threats to his son over Neymar injury
07:59Liverpool's Lucas Leiva closing in on Napoli move
July 20, 2014
12:06Dodo hopes Inter Milan move can improve international prospects
11:55Sao Paulo boss Muricy Ramalho backs Dunga for Brazil post
11:45São Paulo Ganso disappointed his side failed to convert their chances against Chapecoens
11:35Leandro Damiao misses out again for Santos as striker's woes continue
11:30Atlético Mineiro head coach Levir Culpi hails Luan
11:23Real Madrid confirm Casemiro loan to FC Porto
10:53Botafogo right back Lucas looking for improvement ahead of next weekend’s derby
10:43‘Ugly duckling’ Chapecoense shocks São Paulo in the Brasileirão
10:30Victor and Jô discuss Atlético Mineiro’s Brasileirão draw with Bahia
July 19, 2014
23:19Gerard Houllier explains why Lionel Messi was awarded the Golden Ball
23:13Neymar believes Brazil can learn from Germany and Spain
23:07Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli welcomes introduction of vanishing spray into Serie A after World Cup success
23:01Report: Hellas Verona to target Cagliari forward Nenê
17:17World Champions leave a good impression at the São Januário
16:55Jefferson returns to Botafogo after his time at the World Cup
16:29Muricy Ramalho sees Kaká as one of São Paulo’s leaders
16:12Rogério Ceni eyeing another record with São Paulo
15:59New coach of Brazil to be revealed on Tuesday
10:11Reports: Casemiro to leave Real Madrid for Porto
10:00Corinthians keeper Cassio disagrees with Neymar over Brazilian attitudes to training
July 19, 2014
23:19Gerard Houllier explains why Lionel Messi was awarded the Golden Ball
23:13Neymar believes Brazil can learn from Germany and Spain
23:07Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli welcomes introduction of vanishing spray into Serie A after World Cup success
July 14, 2014
23:57FIFA President Sepp Blatter denies involvement in selection of Lionel Messi as Golden Ball winner
23:48FIFA Secretary-General Jérôme Valcke expects Russia and Qatar World Cups to match Brazil
23:13Maicon philosophical over Brazil World Cup disappointment
July 13, 2014
23:44Fred hopes Fluminense will give him time off after World Cup disappointment
23:41Fred confirms he has retired from international football
09:54Sambafoot Sunday: Brazil's 2014 World Cup Fallout: New Failures
July 12, 2014
23:51Joachim Low: Germany can be the first European nation to win in Latin America
23:48Dunga: Germany played as a unit
23:44Thiago Silva left frustrated by Netherlands defeat
23:35Oscar has "horrible feeling" after Netherlands defeat
July 11, 2014
22:50Germany forward Thomas Muller looking forward to playing in the Maracana
July 09, 2014
23:55Neymar agent Wagner Ribeiro makes astonishing attack of Luiz Felipe Scolari
23:51Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari insists Germany defeat "not all bad"
23:48Cafu refused entry to Brazil dressing room after Germany defeat
15:30Tim Vickery Column: A look at Brazil’s capitulation against Germany and what now for Luiz Felipe Scolari
July 08, 2014
23:59Luiz Felipe Scolari: “Who is responsible for this result? I am, it’s me”
23:55Germany forward Miroslav Klose "truly happy" to break Ronaldo's World Cup scoring record
23:50Julio Cesar struggles to comprehend Brazil defeat
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July 07, 2014
22:25Brazil legend Amarildo believes Neymar absence could work to the Selecao's advantage against Germany
22:22Germany Head Coach Joachim Low wary of "robust" Brazil
22:05Maicon disappointed with refereeing on Neymar challenge
July 06, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Ney Problem - Can Brazil Cope Without Neymar?
July 05, 2014
23:45Argentina forward Lionel Messi aiming for the World Cup final
23:30Medic insists vertebra injury will not compromise Neymar’s career
July 04, 2014
23:59Thiago Silva defends emotional Brazil
23:55James Rodriguez: David Luiz told me I was a good player
23:50David Luiz looks forward to "classic" encounter with Germany
23:47David Luiz: Colombia would have gone further if they “hadn't come up against Brazil”
15:34Luiz Felipe Scolari feels Brazil’s lack of a rivalry with Colombia will allow his players to be “more at ease'
July 03, 2014
18:58Brazil v Colombia – Preview
July 02, 2014
22:14Neymar confirms he is fit to face Colombia
22:10Colombia Head Coach Jose Pekerman confident his side can upset Brazil
22:06Neymar insists he can fit in any formation amid rumours that Luiz Felipe Scolari will switch to a 3-5-2 against Colombia
22:02Neymar happy for Brazil to win 1-0 against Colombia
July 01, 2014
23:24Fernandinho confident Brazil can handle expectations
June 30, 2014
16:29Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari unsure whether Neymar will be fit to face Colombia
16:24Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari compares Neymar to Cristiano Ronaldo
June 29, 2014
23:11Diego Maradona: "Chile deserved to go through"
23:00Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez respectful of Brazil
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June 26, 2014
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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
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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
July 22, 2014
12:44Report: Juventus and Roma could move for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Douglas Costa following refusal to return to Ukraine
July 21, 2014
23:53Report: Barcelona to target São Paulo defender Rodrigo Caio
23:47La Liga newcomers Córdoba confirm the loan signing of forward Ryder Matos from Fiorentina
23:42Serie B newcomers Perugia sign veteran midfielder Rodrigo Taddei on a free transfer from Roma
23:352014 Brasileirão Round 11 summary: Internacional thump struggling Flamengo
July 19, 2014
23:01Report: Hellas Verona to target Cagliari forward Nenê
09:30Report: Chelsea set to move for Atlético de Madrid defender Miranda after completing deal for Filipe Luís
July 18, 2014
22:42Udinese complete the signing of midfielder Guilherme from Corinthians
22:34Robinho representative suggests temporary switch to Brazil is likely
22:31Representative confirms negotiations between Milan and Orlando City over Robinho
22:27Report: Livorno striker Paulinho set to join Al Arabi
17:542014 Brasileirão Round 10 summary: Newly promoted Sport Recife shock Botafogo
10:51Report: Genoa set to sign defender Edenílson on loan from Udinese
July 17, 2014
22:58Report: Sunderland forward Ignacio Scocco can't return to Newell's Old Boys until payment is settled with Internacional
22:53Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale bemoans lack of a second goalkeeper for Fluminense test
22:49Exeter City Manager Paul Tisdale expecting stern test against Fluminense
22:42Santos Head Coach Oswaldo de Oliveira hopeful for Robinho return
22:37Former Croatia international Eduardo signs for Flamengo
22:33New Flamengo signing Eduardo retires from international football
July 16, 2014
23:07Daniel Alves defends new Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez
23:02Daniel Alves wants Barcelona stay
22:57Report: Robinho to Santos before joining Kaka at Orlando City
22:52Livorno forward Paulinho considering a number of offers
July 14, 2014
23:52Hellas Verona confirm signing of Romulo from Fiorentina
23:12Cafu expects former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole to succeed at Roma
23:12Maicon wants a new deal at Roma
July 12, 2014
23:39Dodo hails Walter Mazzarri influence in Internazionale move
July 11, 2014
23:01Milan Vice President Adriano Galliani hails capture of Brazilian defender Alex
22:58Internazionale defender Juan Jesus talks Nemanja Vidic and Alexandre Pato
22:54Internazionale defender Juan Jesus thankful for fans support after long injury layoff
22:46Rodrigo Taddei open to Fiorentina switch
July 09, 2014
23:59Goalkeeper Diego Alves signs a new five year deal with Valencia
23:36Dodo thanks Roma fans after agreeing Internazionale move
July 07, 2014
22:16Report: Roma defender Dodo set to join Internazionale on loan
22:11Report: Alexandre Pato's wage demands are holding up potential Internazionale move
22:01Maicon confident he will win the Scudetto with Roma
July 02, 2014
22:21Kaka expects Robinho to join him in Major League Soccer
July 01, 2014
23:14Ethics committee confirms claims of match fixing against Cameroon will be investigated
23:13Angel Di Maria believes Argentina deserved to beat Switzerland
23:12Chelsea confirm signing of Atlético Madrid forward Diego Costa
June 30, 2014
16:40Agent Tadeu Cruz denies that Kaka has left Milan for family reasons
16:34Agent Tadeu Cruz confirms that Kaka is likely to join Sao Paulo before moving on to Orlando City
June 28, 2014
21:16Chievo Verona sign defender Edimar from CFR Cluj on a free transfer
11:39Neymar hails role of Santos President Luis Álvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro and Pelé in decision to snub Chelsea in 2010
June 27, 2014
23:17Kaka expects to be at Milan for the start of pre-season
14:28Play-maker Paulo Henrique Ganso hopes to have the opportunity to play alongside Kaká at São Paulo
11:46Brazil forward Fred feels four month ban handed to Liverpool's Luis Suárez is “a bit too severe"
June 26, 2014
23:59Al-Ain goalkeeper Waleed Salem hails Palmeiras play-maker Jorge Valdivia
22:03Brazilian forward Neto Berola vows to "give everything I have" after joining Al Wasl on loan from Atlético Mineiro
15:59FIFA suspend Uruguay forward Luis Suárez for nine matches plus four months without any football related activity
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