Brazilian football has suffered greatly in the past year. Gone are the days when Brazil dominate at an international level, and gone are the days when every European team is monitoring the progress of the latest group of exports from the spiritual home of football.
Lucas Silva is a player highly rated by Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti. Scouted for some time he eventually made the switch from Brazilian side Cruizero to the bright lights of the Bernabeau in late January. A talented central defensive midfielder he is seen as the long term replacement for Sami Khedira.
Included in Madrid’s Champions’ League squad he made his European debut in a comfortable 2-0 win over Schalke last night. Casemiro, on loan from Madrid, was a constant threat for Porto as they drew 1-1 away at Basel.
Casemiro is also a central midfielder brought to Los Blancos in the summer of 2013 after a successful spell at Castilla, the Madrid ‘B’ team. He made 25 appearances throughout the 2013-14 season for the first team, but still failed to make a considerable impression on Carlo Ancelotti.
Now on loan at Porto he must wonder does he have a future under the Italian manager. He was a constant threat in the Basel half last night and was unfortunate to have a goal struck off from two of his teammates standing in offside positions. Porto have the option to buy him at the end of the season but Real have a buy-back clause should the Portuguese side decide to buy him.
There will be obvious pressure on Lucas Silva to succeed at Madrid, but there is the added pressure that the Brazilian Serie A arguably haven’t had a world-class export since Neymar in 2013. This might not sound like a big problem, but a country with such a proud footballing tradition as Brazil takes pride in the players it produces.
Stars like Pato, Kaká and more recently Oscar have been snapped up by European clubs but the desire for the South American players is not as strong.
Ricardo Goulart finished top scorer in Brazil’s Serie A last year with 15 goals in 26 league games. A former teammate of Lucas Silva, Goulart made a £11.5 million move to Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande, a club most notable for having Nicolas Anelka on their books before.
Newspapers in Brazil called him the country’s biggest mercenary moving to China instead of a move to greener pastures in Europe but, simply put, no one in Europe would sign him. He now will reportedly earn around £3 million a year after tax.
Lucas Silva will be the outlier in a more recent trend if he succeeds in Madrid. No doubt he has the talent, but if he can apply himself better than Casemiro he should fare better. More importantly for Brazil he can prove that their league exports can play at the highest level, which will encourage more European teams to put faith in Brazilian based players.