It was none other than the most beloved club of Brazil – Flamengo lifted the title in the Brasileiro this season. In one of the toughest and exciting club competitions across the globe, the title winner was decided on the penultimate day of the season. And in this season, a boy named Claudinho has hogged the limelight and overshadowed many with his skill sets and goal-scoring abilities.

Born in Sao Vicente, Sao Paulo, Claudinho joined Santos’ youth setup in 2003, aged six. In July 2015, after impressing with the under-17s, he signed a professional contract with Corinthians, being initially assigned to the under-20 squad.

He started his career in Corinthians. He was part of the squad that won the 2015 Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A, despite never playing and only being an unused substitute. After losing the under-20s final from Flamengo in 2016 Copa Sao Paulo de Futebol Junior,  he made his professional debut on 19 March of that year, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 4–0 Campeonato Paulista routing of Linense at the Arena Corinthians.

In 2016 Claudinho was loaned to Serie B side Bragantino for the remaining of the season.

He contributed with 18 matches, as the club suffered relegation.

Claudinho spent the 2017 Campeonato Paulista on loan at Santo Andre, scoring four goals during the competition. Then, in the same year, Claudinho signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Ponte Preta in the top tier, with the club acquiring 50% of his federative rights. He made his debut in the category (and for the club) ten days later, replacing Lins in a 2–2 away draw against Atlético Mineiro.

Claudinho was loaned to Red Bull Brasil for the 2018 Campeonato Paulista, where he featured regularly but scored just one goal. On April 11, he moved to Oeste also in a temporary deal but cut short his loan in August to return to Red Bull.

The club was known as Clube Atletico Bragantino before the club administration was taken over by Red Bull GmbH in 2020 that renamed the club and changed its colours from its traditional black and white to red and white.

Although the partnership began in April 2019, during the 2019 Campeonato Brasileiro Serie B, the team was called ‘Bragantino’ and Red Bull appeared only as a sponsor.

In the 2020 campaign, the name changed to ‘Red Bull Bragantino.’

In their first season, they were champions of the 2019 Serie B being promoted to the Serie A and qualifying for the 2020 Copa do Brasil round of 16

Claudio’s loan was renewed until the end of 2020.

He became a key unit for the club during the 2019 Campeonato Brasileiro Serie B, contributing with ten goals as the club achieved promotion as champions; in September, RB Bragantino bought 50% of his federative rights belonging to Ponte Preta, and he signed a contract until 2023.

Courtesy of the goal scored on the last day against the Guild, Claudinho has finished the competition as a gunner, with 18 goals, sharing records with Luciano, of Sao Paulo, and add the six assists he provided in this dream season. Not only has he entered the best 11 in Brasileirao, but he has been officially named the revealing player and crack of the tournament.

In the 51st edition of the Silver Balls, ESPN Brasil Awards – Claudinho won four trophies, including the Ballon d’Or, given to the best player in the competition.

Claudinho, who is known as a left-winger, but can be operated in various positions up front – he can play as a number 10, central-attacking midfielder, center-forward and striker as well.

His mobility in the final had been the hallmark this season.

He has creativity and it was common to see him moving from the left side of the pitch to more centralized positions, between the opponent’s marking lines. In this way, he can see the game head-on and generate occasions through a throw or a touch for a better-placed colleague, just as he can occupy empty spaces and generate pass options for his teammates.

Under the watchful eyes and pressures of opponents, Claudinho, who is ambidextrous, has the facility to create moves out of nowhere something widely used by him and that starts from the reception of the ball, which is usually done with his left foot and directed in a matter of seconds with the right one!

Claudinho had been so impressive that Tite is considering him for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against Colombia and Argentina in March.

“Claudinho is in a selection of important players who can be summoned, with proven individual technical quality,” said coach Tite, who recalled, “Whoever threw him into professionalism was me!” when he coached Corinthians – he was 18 back then.

“He performs high in both the completion and participation of the offensive game and in assists.”

After such an impressive, surely, the big clubs in Europe would definitely go after him.

According to Goal – RB Leipzig, part of the Red Bull global stable of clubs, are his most likely destination with manager Julien Nagelsmann a big fan of the Brazilian’s talents.

Other clubs have attempted to do a deal for Claudinho, most notably Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad, who tabled a €10m (£9m/$12m) bid for the forward. This was rejected, with Claudinho instead in line for a high-profile move to Europe and potentially Champions League football.

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There are other clubs who are interested in this Brazilian talent, but at the moment, RB Leipzig would be the appropriate place for him to shine more.

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