From the new prince of PSG to the rock at the centre Manchester City’s midfield, here’s the best of the best in our top 5 Brazilians of the season
Manchester City have just been crowned as the champions of England, and while no player is irreplaceable in Pep Guardiola’s tactical scheme, Fernandinho comes as close as possible. The Spanish tactician has hailed him as one of the best three defensive midfielders in the world, and went even further by declaring that he was honoured to have been able to coach the veteran. There is little doubt that Fernandinho will be heading to Russia in June, with the national team.
4) Philippe Coutinho
Although he made a stunning move to Barcelona, Coutinho’s adaptation to life in Spain has gone rather well. After an excellent first half with Liverpool, the little magician is improving very quickly at Barça, and is starting to show his worth with one goal and three assists in his last four games. There is no doubt that the Catalans missed the 25-year-old’s services in their disappointing Champions League exit, at the hands of AS Roma. But next season, Philippe will have the opportunity to orchestrate the Spanish midfield as he would have been cleared to take part in European competition.
3) Neymar JR
There is little doubt that Neymar is the best Brazilian footballer over the past three years, and right behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the worldwide top three. However, with a French league triumph taken for granted, it was in the Champions League where Neymar was expected to make the difference. After a rather disappointing first leg at the Bernabéu, considering the expectations, he missed the return in Paris, which would prove to be costly for the Ligue 1 side. His phenomenal local performances are probably just enough to earn him a spot in the top three, though.
2) Alisson Becker
While all spotlight has been on Manchester City’s new recruitment, Ederson, little had been said about Brazil’s number one, Alisson Becker. The 25-year-old has been the best goalkeeper in the Italian league this season, and is currently considered among the top five in the world. There are growing talks that Real Madrid are willing to pay whatever it takes, to snatch him from AS Roma. This will be easier said than done, with the Italian team refusing to let go of their hero who produced miraculous saves against Shakhtar Donetsk and Barcelona, to guarantee qualification to the semi-final phase of the Champions League.
1) Roberto Firmino
For some reason, Roberto Firmino is almost always under-looked. However, this is not possible anymore, with the season he is having. Liverpool have one of the best three attacking trios in Europe, and Firmino is the one who makes them gel together, with his intelligent movement and hold-up play, allowing him to create spaces for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané to exploit. While his high work-rate has always been admired, it is Roberto’s finishing and creativity that have been the standouts this season. His goal against Manchester City at the Etihad, after dispossessing Kyle Walker then beating Ederson for the winner, is perhaps the perfect example as to why Firmino is the complete modern-day centre-forward.