Analyzing the Best Talents in Brazil’s Top-Flight

Brazil’s talent production is iconic. In recent years, top European clubs have recruited wonderkids from Brazil who’ve quickly become superstars for their respective teams: Vinícius Jr, Rodrygo, and Gabriel Martinelli to name a few. Talents departing the Brazilian league for Europe this window include Endrick (Real Madrid), Vitor Roque (Barcelona), Pedrinho (Zenit St. Petersburg), Ângelo & Andrey Santos (both Chelsea), etc. It’s evident that clubs don’t want to waste time in bringing in these young ballers.

A few of the Brazilian youngsters who have made the move to Europe in the past year: Danilo (Nottingham Forest), João Gomes (Wolves), Robert Renan (Zenit), Matheus Martins (Watford), Marquinhos (Arsenal), Luiz Henrique (Real Betis), Gabriel Verón (Porto), Gabriel Sara (Norwich), Igor Paixão (Feyenoord), Kaiky (Almería), Sávio (Troyes).


There are plenty of older players in Campeonato Brasileiro Série A who have the quality to make the move to Europe like Raphael Veiga, Pedro, Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Joaquín Piquerez, Ayrton Lucas, Gabriel Barbosa, and Nino, with the latter being linked with a January move to Nottingham Forest, but it’s clear that Europe’s top sides have a strong tendency towards the signing the best young talents instead of veteran performers. As such, today, we’re going to be taking a look at a few young players who could be the next to earn a high-profile move to the other side of the Atlantic.

Marcos Leonardo | ST | 20 | Santos

The best talent yet to make a move from Brazil to Europe, Leonardo is a small bulky striker with quality attacking movement & positioning, a clinical finisher who has great composure and bullish aggression, who has earned comparisons to Sergio Aguero with an impressive campaign for the Peixe that has seen him score 21 goals and 4 assists in 45 appearances.


Marcos Leonardo – A Diamond in the Rough

André | DM | 22 | Fluminense

A true ball-winning midfielder who’s strong in duels, André is one who could make the step up to an elite club soon. He has great technical security & long-passing to dictate games. His hunger to win the ball adds a real leadership dynamic for Fernando Diniz’s side, who defeated Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores Final to win their first-ever title in South America’s premier competition.


Andre Trindade – The Modern-Day Defensive Midfielder

Estevão | RW | 16 | Palmeiras

From Endrick to Gabriel Verón to Gabriel Jesus, Palmeiras’ academy has produced a wide range of exciting forwards in recent years, and the next player to enjoy a breakout campaign could be Estevão, a high-volume dribbler who loves to cut in on his left to shoot where he displays his great ball striking, boasting electric pace and agility which helps him to quickly turn. He is considered one of the brightest talents in the Verdão’s youth ranks, and it’s only a matter of time before he makes his debut under Abel Ferreira.

Bento | GK | 24 | Athletico Paranaense

Despite being linked with various clubs including Benfica, Bento remained put with the Furacão, who have retained the services of one of the best goalkeepers in Brazil. A strong commanding presence in goal with great reflexes and positioning, Bento has great pace to get off his line quickly and spatial awareness to reduce angles/space for attackers to shoot in.


Bento: The Next Top Brazilian Goalkeeper?

Victor Hugo | CM | 19 | Flamengo

A creative, attack-minded midfielder who’s a strong dribbler with great vision that helps to find killer final passes to create chances, Hugo loves to receive the ball on the half-turn and thrives around the box, and he could be the next Flamengo product to make the move to Europe after Lucas Paquetá, Vinícius and Matheus França.

Lucas Beraldo | CB | 19 | São Paulo

A ball-playing, left-sided center back, Beraldo is a great ball carrier who’d able to spray accurate passes to create from deep, whose great defensive understanding and anticipation enable him to read attacking patterns and then make tackles and interceptions.


Luis Guilherme | AM | 17 | Palmeiras

Another elite talent at Palmeiras who has been overlooked due to the spotlight on Endrick and Estevão, Guilherme is a technical dribbler with a top left foot. He drives at defenders, creates chances and has an eye for goal, and he is best utilised in a free-roaming 10 role.

Fausto Vera | DM | 23 | Corinthians

The first non-Brazilian on the list is Fausto Vera, having left his boyhood club Argentinos Juniors and joined Corinthians in 2022. The Argentine DM is a press resistance deep-lying playmaker who drops between the center backs comfortably receiving the ball under pressure and re-distributing it to initiate attacks. 


Matheus Nascimento | ST | 19 | Botafogo

Botafogo entered the October international break with a 10-point lead over Palmeiras after suffering back-to-back defeats to exit the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s version of the Europa League, and falling to a 2-1 loss to Flamengo. Today, though, they sit second in the table for the first time all season, and they sit two points behind Palmeiras and one point above Grêmio, with a game in hand on both, as well as one point above Bragantino.


They’ll be looking to bounce back as they attempt to win their third top-flight league title in club history and their first since 1995, and they’ll be counting on Matheus Nascimento to provide extra firepower in attack. A born poacher, Nascimento is incredibly composed around the box when finishing past the keeper and is also great at dropping deep to link up with his attacking teammates. A mobile striker that’s great at dribbling out tight spaces with great instincts in the box, expect him to get a move sooner rather than later.

Pablo Maia | DM | 21 | São Paulo


After Casemiro, Oscar, and Gabriel Sara, Pablo Maia could very well be the next midfield product of the Cotia academy to earn a big move. A high-enery, tough-tackling warrior in the center of the pitch, Maia’s superb passing ability enables him to switch the play and launch counter-attacks with an inch-perfect through ball, setting the pace of the game in possession and cleaning up danger out of possession, and he’s capable of creating danger with shots from long distance.

Mycael | GK | 19 | Athletico Paranaense


It seems a matter of time before Bento makes the move across the Atlantic, and should that happen, Mycael is his natural successor. Mycael was Brazil’s starting goalkeeper in this year’s U-20 Sudamericano, saving a penalty in a 3-1 win against Argentina in the group stage and exhibiting plenty of quick reflexes and confidence off his line and earning Man of the Match in the final against Uruguay after Brazil narrowly secured a 2-0 win via late goals from Andrey Santos and Pedro.


South America’s Young Prospects: The Best of ‘The Rest’


Matheus Martinelli | CM | 22 | Fluminense

Since breaking onto the scene at the start of 2021, Matheus Martinelli has emerged as a regular contributor for Fernando Diniz’s side, a technically secure high-volume passer who loves to carry the ball to progress play & take on opponents, and who is skilled at distributing the ball and operating as the orchestrator in the center of the pitch.

Guilherme Biro | RW | 19 | Corinthians

An agile winger who uses his body well when dribbling, times and weights his passes with the precision of a veteran, and boasts a lethal crossing ability, Biro was even utilized at left back for Brazil in this summer’s U-20 World Cup and looked like a mini-Marcelo (not just the hair), driving down the left flank and creating havoc in the final third for the Seleção, who topped their group on goal differential despite losing their first match to Italy, before beating Tunisia and losing to Israel in extra time in the quarterfinals.


Matheus Gonçalves | RW | 18 | RB Bragantino

An exciting, nifty dribbler who loves to take on players and fire shots away with either foot and test goalkeepers from long range, Gonçalves joined Bragantino on loan from Flamengo until the end of the year. Whilst he made just six league appearances going into the international break, four of them came between August 15 and September 3, with Gonçalves coming off the bench and grabbing an assist in a 2-0 win against Cuiabá. He has made six league appearances since then, including a 90-minute performance in a 1-0 win against Fluminense.

Johnny Cardoso | DM | 22 | Internacional


Born in New Jersey to Brazilian parents, Cardoso moved to Brazil at three months old and progressed through the ranks at Internacional’s academy, and he has not only emerged as a crucial player with 7 goals and 5 assists in 141 appearances for the Colorado but a USMNT international as well. A deep-lying playmaker who boasts stellar anticipation and is capable of reading the game and making vital interceptions, he excels at winning aerial duels and progressing play from the first phase of build-up.


Argentina’s Top Ten Promising Defensive Midfielders

Rikelme | LB | 20 | Cuiabá


A versatile player who is capable of slotting in as a right winger or as a left winger, Rikelme is a technically gifted player who is active defensively, boasting impressive stats in terms of ground and aerial duels. Having been converted into a left back this season, he has established himself as a regular under Toni and become the youngest player to score for the club in Brazil’s top-flight.


Gabriel Moscardo | DM | 18 | Corinthians


At 17 years old, Gabriel Moscardo boasts a mentality and understanding that belies his tender age. A tough-tackling, ball-winning midfielder who is skilled at breaking the lines with his passes, Moscardo is a special talent, and after Malcom, Robert Renan and Murillo, he could be the next player to leave the Timão and make the move to Europe.

Marlon Gomes | CM | 19 | Vasco da Gama


From Douglas Luiz to Andrey Santos to Philippe Coutinho, Vasco’s academy has produced a treasure trove of midfielders in recent years, and the latest prospect to make the step up for the Cruzmaltino could be Marlon Gomes. A technically gifted playmaker who is skilled at carrying the ball forward and progressing the play with his passing, he excels at scanning the pitch and is always looking to create chances. He boasts a top-notch understanding of the game and needs to be given creative freedom to pick up different positions and combine with teammates in the final third.

Gabriel Menino | CM | 23 | Palmeiras


At 23 years of age, Gabriel Menino has already won the league title and two Copa Libertadores trophies for Palmeiras as well as the gold medal with Brazil at the Olympic Games. Menino is capable of slotting in as a midfielder or even as a fullback and boasts an eye for goal, a high-volume shooter who is capable of progressing play, shooting from distance with either foot, and who has a great defensive work rate.


Data Analysis: Gabriel Menino

Thiago Borbas | ST | 21 | RB Bragantino


From Luis Suárez to Edinson Cavani to Diego Forlán, Uruguay have been blessed with quite a few world-class strikers this century, and the latest forward to make an impact for La Celeste could be Thiago Borbas, who has racked up 13 goals and 3 assists in 46 appearances this season. He has instinctive movement around the box and is able to create chances for himself and drop deep in order to provide a passing option and link up with other forwards, skilled at not only holding up the ball with his back to goal, but making the most of limited chances.

Bruninho | AM | 20 | RB Bragantino


After Natan (Napoli), Claudinho (Zenit) and Douglas Mendes (Red Bull Salzburg), Bruninho could very well be the latest player to secure a big move away from Bragantino. A creative, technically gifted dribbler, Bruninho boasts a great long shot and regularly tests the goalkeeper from medium and long range, and he is capable of putting in a dangerous cross or shot with either foot, an ambidextrous threat who has racked up double figures in goal contributions across all competitions this season.


By: Ben Mattinson / @Ben_Mattinson_

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Heuler Andrey – Getty Images