The Unexpected Emergence of Rodrigo Muniz in Fulham’s Attack

When Aleksandar Mitrović joined Saudi club Al-Hilal for £50 million, many Fulham fans expected the worst. The Serbian striker had been a pivotal part of Fulham’s attack since joining in 2018, racking up 111 goals and 21 assists in 206 appearances, leading them to three different promotions and scoring an impressive 14 goals in their return to the Premier League in 2022/23.


The Cottagers signed Raúl Jiménez in the summer window from Wolves and brought in Armando Broja on loan from Chelsea in January, but neither have been able to take the mantle and establish themself as Fulham’s new attacking talisman. Instead, Rodrigo Muniz has seized the moment and emerged as a revelation in Marco Silva’s bold set-up across the first few months of 2024.



Born in São Domingos do Prata, Muniz started his career with Desportivo Brasil before making the move to Brazilian giants Flamengo in 2018, developing his talent at the Ninho do Urubu academy and honing his skills on loan at Coritiba. On August 13, 2021, just three months after turning 20 years old, Muniz travelled to Spain for a 14-day quarantine before going to England and signing for Fulham. The West London side paid €8 million for the striker, with Flamengo set to receive 20% of any future transfer.


Muniz didn’t take long to make an impression on the new manager, making his debut on September 11, 2021 in a 1-0 loss at Blackpool. One week later, he came off the bench and scored in a 2-1 loss vs. Reading. All in all, Muniz logged 25 Championship appearances and grabbed braces against Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City as Fulham earned promotion to the top-flight.


Desperate to escape the shadow of Mitrović, Muniz joined Championship club Middlesbrough on loan for the 2022/23 season. Things started well for Muniz at the Riverside, scoring twice in his first four matches, but after suffering a knee injury in December, he would play just once for Michael Carrick’s side — a brief cameo vs. Luton Town in April — watching from the sidelines as Chuba Akpom ran the show in Boro’s attack.


Rather than pursuing a new loan opportunity upon his return to his parent club, Muniz remained put at Craven Cottage. He was used sparingly in the opening months of the campaign, grabbing a goal in their 3-1 win against Ipswich Town in the EFL Cup only to suffer a knee injury shortly after and miss the next month of action. However, with Jiménez failing to hit the ground running and Carlos Vinícius struggling to impress, Muniz would soon reap the rewards of his patience.



Fulham added to their striker core with the deadline day signing of Broja on February 1 — little did they know it, but that signing would help serve as an impetus for the emergence of their Brazilian striker. Two days later, Muniz would grab the first Premier League of his career, doubling the lead within 21 minutes. Broja replaced him with a quarter-hour left, but it was another Chelsea loanee who delivered the goods as David Datro Fofana scored a late brace to lead Burnley to a 2-2 draw at Turf Moor.


Muniz hasn’t looked back since then, scoring a brace in their 3-1 victory vs. Bournemouth and following that up with another goal in their 2-1 loss to Aston Villa. He would kick off March in stellar fashion with a goal and an assist in Fulham’s 3-0 victory against Brighton, before once again stealing the show with a brace in their 3-0 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur. When Fulham found themselves in danger of a loss to Sheffield United, Muniz once again stepped up and delivered with a 93rd-minute equalizer to snatch a 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane.


Silva lavished praise on his young striker following his heroics against Tottenham, stating: “It’s not just the goals. The way he’s been improving and the hard work that he’s putting in every single week from the beginning of the season and, I have to say, from the first season that he was with us as well. And it’s paying off right now. It’s a great feeling for me as a manager, because I pushed the football club to buy him two, three years ago when I first joined the club. Myself and my staff saw something in him, I felt he was the right player to join our football club.


What João Palhinha Can Provide to Marco Silva’s Fulham


First season was okay for him, it was a good one. Unfortunately, last season [at Middlesbrough] didn’t work out for him, but from this pre-season we felt that he was going in the right direction. He had some injuries that stopped a little bit his development as a football player. And, after, we had to show the patience. When you’re a football player, sometimes there are some moments that you feel have been tough, [but] you cannot give up, and he never gave up.


Even in some moments when he was not even involved in the squad list, he was always working really hard, and when a chance came he stepped in, and this is the most important thing for a football player. “I’m really pleased for him, he deserves all the credit for what he’s been achieving. But the good thing that I keep seeing, there are so many things for him to improve, to work with him to develop.”


With Muniz in the form of his life, Fulham could very well hold off on splurging on a center forward this summer and instead put their trust in the Brazilian striker. Capable of holding up the ball with his bulky frame and allowing others to come into play, he is winning 3.2 aerial duels per 90 and can often seem like a magnet with his capacity to retain long balls and progress possession.


The Glorious Resurgence of Willian at Fulham


He is adept at disrupting the opposing backline and entering the box with his cunning movement, constantly keeping defenders guessing with his relentless running and testing the goalkeeper with an average of 3.20 shots per match. Similar to legendary strikers like Edinson Cavani or Robert Lewandowski, Muniz is a multi-faceted threat whose clinical finishing, physical prowess and hold-up play allow him to affect the game not just as a scorer but as a playmaker as well.


Alongside compatriots Willian and Andreas Pereira as well as Silva and Palhinha, Muniz is part of a growing Lusophone core that is making its mark on Fulham in their return to the Premier League and proving that the “yo-yo club” allegations of yesteryear are outdated. Despite losing Mitrović, Fulham find themselves on course for a second-straight midtable finish, with the West London side currently sitting 13th in the table, 14 points clear of the relegation zone.


With a contract until 2026, Fulham will be looking to tie Muniz down to a long-term contract this summer and reward him with a sizable wage increase. Having racked up just seven goals in his first two seasons of English football across 45 appearances, he’s already registered 9 goals and 1 assist in 27 appearances for the Cottagers. At 22 years of age, Muniz is well on his way to following in the footsteps of Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli and Roberto Firmino and becoming the latest Brazilian forward to take the Premier League by storm.


By: Muhammed L. Sillah / @LsillahOfficial

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Rich Linley – CameraSport