Brazil – the land of music, love, wonderful people, and football. Throughout the past and present century, the Latina Nation has been producing footballing talents, who have nothing but glorified the world of football. As always, they remain the first target of big clubs in Europe. At the moment, it seems, Real Madrid is the new home of the Brazilian young talents.

The boss of Real Madrid Florentino Perez might have missed out signing Neymar, but he did not waste any time in signing talents like Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes, Eder Miliitao, and Reinier Jesus. Now, Perez has focused on another talent hailing from Sao Paulo Football Club – Igor Gomes.

Born in Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Igor was spotted as an eight-year-old playing football in Rio Preto, he was registered by Sao Paulo two years later and moved into their Cotia academy in 2012.

Igor represented America-SP and Tanabi as a youth, before joining the youth setup of Sao Paulo FC at the age of 14.

Igor Gomes. Image Courtesy: FourFourTwo
Igor Gomes. Image Courtesy: FourFourTwo

In early 2016, he was promoted to the under-17 side; and was promoted to the under-20 team at the end of the year.

In 2018, he won the Copa do Brasil Sub-20 with the reserves.

On 26 September 2018, Igor along with Helinho and Antony was promoted to the senior team.

On 26 November, he made his first-team debut, coming on as a substitute for Felipe Araruna in a 0–0 draw against Sport.

On March 24th, 2019, Gomes scored twice in the 2-1 victory of Tricolor over Ituano.

Igor has been capped by Brazil at the Under-20 level, representing the team at the 2017 Toulon Tournament and 2019 South American U-20 Championship.

With his lanky-frame, energetic run from the central midfield, exquisite control over the ball, and elegance, already, Igor is tagged as the “Next Kaka” in Brazil.

But over the years, many youth products in Brazil have been tagged as the same, who found t tough to cope with such a heavy title. Oscar faded while Lucas Paqueta is yet to prove a point.

Igor Gomes. Image Courtesy: Marca
Igor Gomes. Image Courtesy: Marca

The times in Brazil Under-17 were tough as Igor said to Globo Esporte, “I blamed myself, I blamed myself too much when I made an error, I was very sad, I couldn’t just move on. It hurt me a lot in games because I couldn’t develop my football. I had to work on this issue”.

But mentally he proved to be a tough nut as He showed his character to swiftly overcame that hurdle in 2016, though, winning the U17 state championship before moving up to the U20s and tasting Copa do Brasil success.

Gomes was an influential character in Sao Paulo’s success in the Copa do Sao Paolo – one of Brazil’s prestigious Youth Tournaments. Sao Paulo featured in the finals for the first time since 2010 – a team, which featured Lucas Moura and Casemiro. The final was lost, but Gomes caught the attention of many.

Sao Paulo’s Youth Team underwent a lot of chopping and changing regarding their coaches, but none of them lost faith in the abilities of Gomes –  In 2019 a double in the 2-1 Campeonato Paulista quarter-final first-leg victory over Ituano, the first of which was a delightful scissor kick, showed he could play an important role in the senior set-up.

Fernando Diniz was appointed as the new coach last September and the fortunes of Gomes started to turn around.

Of Gomes’ 27 appearances in the 2019 Campeonato Brasileiro, 15 came in the space of two months after he took over as head coach, and his two goals and assists came during that run.

He had the fifth-most passes completed in the league among players aged under 22, with his accuracy rate a respectable 83.7 percent.

Gomes is particularly capable of doing damage high up the pitch. He has an eye for an incisive pass and the technical ability to be able to pull off an intricate through-ball.

Sao Paulo teammates Luan Santos (404) and Antony (749) – who respectively played 257 and 1,037 minutes more than him – were the only players under 22  to complete more passes in the opposition half than his 400 in last year’s Brasileirao.

His minutes increased and so as the productivity of the player started to attract clubs in Europe. Who else but Real Madrid was the first to notice the style and agility of Gomes.

According to AS, “It is hoped the 21-year-old will command a record fee of £45million for Sao Paulo, whose previous biggest sale was the £33.5m deal that sent Lucas to Paris Saint-Germain in 2013, and he certainly fits with a recent trend at the Santiago Bernabeu”.

Diniz told Radio Transamerica, “It’s difficult to stay [at Sao Paulo] because of his age and quality. Clubs and Sao Paulo cannot escape this, almost none do, they need to sell players to honour their financial commitments”.

“If it arrives at a certain moment, with the size of the proposal, the club is almost obliged to sell. As long as we have the model that is there … we will continue to be a supplier of raw materials. And he is a great raw material”.

“Due to the evolution he is experiencing, he is a player on an exponential growth curve. He plays better and better, he identifies with the club and the way the team plays. His improvement was almost instant after I arrived. There is a very clear tendency for Igor to play better and better”.

“With his age, it is always going to be difficult for the team to keep him. If I say what I want, it is that he could stay as long as possible”.

“He is a player of very rare quality in Brazilian football, perhaps worldwide, and the way he plays is very important”.

The talent of Gomes is evident, but it would be interesting to see how long could he carry on and create an impact on the big stages.

Talents come and go in Brazil – things have never easier for the generation players after the era of Ronaldo O Fenomeno Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Cafu, and Roberto Carlos. The weight of expectation would always remain higher for Gomes because he is Brazilian. Gomes needs to keep this mind and proceed accordingly.

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