After two years in exile, one of the most talented playmakers in Brazil, Everton Ribeiro, has returned and is picking up where he left off
The day Everton Ribeiro left Brazil in January 2015, heading to UAE-based side Al-Ahli, the whole country was in shock. The Cruzeiro attacker was widely regarded as the league’s best player, and was being touted as one of the key figures to guide the Seleção through the World Cup upset on home soil. Two years later, Ribeiro is back in his home-country, having signed for Flamengo.
The best player in the Brazilian league in 2013 and 2014, does not seem to have lost any of his brilliance over the years in exile. He has been off to a flying start in his first four games with the Carioca giants, having already provided three decisive assists equally divided against Bahia on his debut, São Paulo and Vasco – all in league action – in addition to scoring his first goal against Chilean side Palestro in the Copa Sudamericana, which is the South American equivalent of the Europa League.
The 28-year old is enjoying his best form and seems to be at the peak of his footballing powers. As a matter of fact, in the late game in the Rio de Janeiro derby against arch-rivals Vasco da Gama, the new Flamengo star pulled-off a mouthwatering performance, where in addition to his decisive assist to his namesake, he entertained the fans throughout the match with his phenomenal skills. It seemed as if he was caressing the ball with every touch.
In Brazil, journalists are already discussing the notion that Everton Ribeiro could be considered in contention for a spot with Brazil’s national team, if he succeeds in continuing with such magical displays over the next few months. It is worth mentioning that the ‘Mengão’ is the most popular club in Brazil, and by the looks of it, it won’t take the former Cruzeiro star long to conquer the hearts of the fans and cement himself as the club’s main star.
The 28-year old admittedly timed his Brasileirão come-back at the perfect moment, right in time to raise his hopes for a shot at next year’s tournament in Russia, that he has been craving ever since, at that time Brazil manager, Carlos Dunga gave him his debut against Colombia in September 2014.
It is certainly not a stretch to consider Everton a candidate, among others, to book a ticket to the most prestigious tournament in world football. His Flamengo partner Diego Ribas, was completely off the radar when he was still plying his trade with Fenerbahçe, but has however, earned two call-ups, ever since he made the decision to join the 1981 Intercontinental Cup winners.
Everton Ribeiro’s best position is to operate on the right wing, and he has the technical ability to operate as wide play-maker, just like Philippe Coutinho and Jadson, who Brazil coach Tite has already worked with. Everton will have strong competition on that right flank, as Coutinho and Willian are considered key players in the squad – unless Adenor Bacchi does indeed decide to maintain the Liverpool star in central midfield.
In football, never say never. Everton could become the comeback king of Brazil.