A high-flying Porto team that has been making waves in Portugal and the Champions League has an engine room being powered by Brazilian talent
Following the convincing 4-1 victory against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League, FC Porto are on the verge of qualification to the Round of 16. The Portuguese side has been extremely reliant on four Brazilian players this season, and some could well play a key role in the future of the Seleção.
Porto have the best defense in the Portuguese league this season, having conceded just six goals, as they lead the table by goal difference after the first nine rounds. In the Champions League, they have been just as impressive, letting in merely three goals in four matches so far. This would not have been possible without the efforts of the team combined, and especially their Brazilian trio in the back-line, composed of Éder Militão, Felipe and Alex Telles.
Éder Militão was one of the most important players at São Paulo, thanks to his versatility of operating as defensive midfielder and right-back. However, it is in central defense where the Portuguese giants have decided to move him, and it is fair to say he has been quite successful in making the transition. Solid and strong in aerial duels, confident on the ball and not intimidated by opponents, the defender with the growing reputation is slowly becoming a regular inclusion in Tite’s Brazil team.
A familiar face for Tite at the back for Brazil
Meanwhile, his partner in central defense, Felipe, is familiar with the Brazilian manager as well, having been part of his Corinthians side that claimed the league title back in 2015. After showing the same quality of performances for Porto, it is no surprise to see Tite giving his protege more and more chances for the national side.
It is worth saying that Jão Miranda and Thiago Silva are both in their mid-thirties and may retire from representing their country at any moment. It is reassuring to see a younger Brazilian partnership developing in Europe.
Moving on to the left flank, Alex Telles may well be the best Brazilian at FC Porto at the moment. He is not the best at defending, but he is absolutely pivotal to the team’s offensive play, thanks to his long-runs, accurate crossing and ability to cause havoc in the final third of the pitch.
He is one of the main candidates who can succeed Marcelo and Filipe Luis, who are obviously not getting any younger. In this sense, FC Porto’s defensive trio could well signal fresh blood for Brazil, with the start of a new post-World Cup era that requires some sort of renovation.
Another important Brazilian at Porto who doesn’t get enough media attention but is just as pivotal as any of his compatriots, is Otavio. The 23-year old midfielder adds technique, close control, dribbling as well as the ability to affect the score-line, with the evidence of four goals and three assists so far in this campaign. After coming on as a substitute and scoring against Lokomotiv in Champions League action, he is sure to get a confidence boost.
The Estádio do Dragão has always been a good host for Brazilian talent across the years, and nowadays, the situation is not any different. Porto’s Brazilians are a crucial part of a side that is all but certain to make it to the elimination phase of the UEFA Champions League.