They say in Brazil that, Rio de Janeiro is one of the fertile lands in the country in producing the best footballing talents. The temple of Brazilian Football, Maracana is situated in Rio and it is also the playing ground of Carioca state’s oldest club – Fluminense.

Like any other football club in Brazil, Fluminense has a very compact youth system. Plenty of youngsters polish their skills in that youth system and then earn the opportunity to represent the senior side. And later, they fly to the big clubs in Europe – like any Brazilian young talent, Marcos Paulo harvested the same dream and now his dream has come to reality.

Atletico Madrid are set to announce their first signing of the summer after Marcos Paulo landed at Barajas airport in Madrid on Saturday – it’s a pity that the Brazilian clubs fail to keep their own players, but at the same time, it opens the opportunity for the youngsters to push their limits and improve and ear more in the European club competitions.

Born in Sao Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro, Marcos Paulo began his career at Fluminense FC and had a release clause of €45 million at the age of 17.

He was first called up to the first team for their Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A game away to Santos FC in 2018, as several players were rested ahead of a Copa Sudamericana game against Club Nacional de Football; he was unused as Fluminense lost the match.

Marcos Paulo made his professional debut in 2019 in the Campeonato Carioca, playing the last ten minutes of a 3–0 win over Madureira Esporte Clube at the Maracanã Stadium, in place of Bruno Silva.

Five months later, he played his first game in the national league, entering at the same point in a 4–1 home win over Cruzeiro Esporte Clube.

In the 2019 Copa Sudamericana, Marcos Paulo played seven games as Fluminense reached the quarter-finals. He scored his first goal in the second leg 3–1 home win over Uruguay’s Penarol.

He scored four goals in 24 games in the domestic league that year, all towards the end of the campaign, starting with the equalizer in a 1–1 home draw with Associacao Chapecoense de Futebol on 26 October; he said after the game that to not win it was a disappointment.

In 2020, Marcos Paulo scored twice in a 5–1 home win over Madureira in the first game of the Carioca season.

Marcos Paulo is eligible to represent Portugal through his maternal grandfather, born in Vila Cova, Vila Real.

He made his international debut for Portugal under-18 on April 17 2019 as a 52nd-minute substitute for Tiago Araujo in a 1–1 home draw with France.

In the following days, he scored in wins over Mexico (two in a 3–1 victory)[10] and Denmark as his team won the Porto International Tournament.

Marcos Paulo’s first involvement with the under-19 team was at the 2019 Toulon Tournament. He played the first two games of a group-stage elimination and scored in a 3–2 win over reigning champions England in Salon-de-Provence.

He has a Portuguese passport so he will not be a foreigner. In fact, he is international in the lower categories of the Portuguese national team despite having been born in Brazil. If he continues to evolve, he could very possibly end up choosing which team he will play for, Brazil or very surely Portugal.

We are talking about a footballer who is not a forward, that is the first thing to clarify.

Although he can function as a second striker, he is a left-winger who can also play in the right lane – Fast, cheeky, overflowing, very good shooting abilities fantastic dribbler and possess a great brain to exploit the spaces in the final third and score goals.

His numbers in the last season are tremendous and that he was apart for a long time. No less than 65 games in which he scored 11 goals and gave 10 assists.

While playing for Fluminense Marcos Paulo is tactically comfortable in any position where he is able to be a threat in the final third – Since his debut with the Tricolor, he has played on the right, in the centre and on the left as a forward. With Portugal, he is typically used as the centre forward in a 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1.

His primary hunting ground is inside the penalty area.

Being comfortable inside the box also means that the young Brazilian is able to finish from crosses or set-pieces – he is smarter enough to position in between the markers when notices a teammate preparing to the cross at the centre of the penalty arena.

As the ball arrives, the furthest defender realizes that he should pick up Paulo, but at this point, it gets too late as the forward is able to get to the ball first and essay a clinical finish.

He can deceive the defenders and goalkeepers quite smartly and exploit the gaps while scoring goals.

One can say that he is a genuine fox in the box.

In Atletico Madrid, under the guidance of Diego Simeone, Marcos Paulo is expected to deliver the best.

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