When it comes to nurturing and producing world-class abilities, Brazilian club Flamengo have a serious claim to being among the best around at the moment.
It was in the Estádio da Gávea which Vinícius Júnior rose to prominence and took his first steps in the senior game before he left for Real Madrid in a movement worth around #45million.
Along with a Madrid-based club could be set to raid Flamengo once more with acquaintances Atlético interested in 17-year-old Reinier.
The table-toppers rejected a #35million offer from Everton in the summer and the impression around the club would be that the ‘Kaka clone’ has more potential than Vinícius and former Fla celebrity Lucas Paquetá.
Reinier, who just made his senior debut for the club in July, has he has appeared eight times for the Flamengo first group yet has five target involvements to his name, two of which are aids.
His first was a half-volley following a smart run from deep to the box. His second was a poacher’s attempt from close range. Along with his third was a header from near the penalty spot.
None of those goals would normally be associated with an attacking midfielder. But the 17-year-old is not your stereotypical No.10.
He began life as a defensive midfielder, just as Roberto Firmino did before trainers realised that he could affect the game in the last third. However, due to his training at a younger age, he’s defensive traits and is quite effective for a high-energy, well-drilled team.
Standing at 6ft 3ins, Reinier has a physical existence that also assists his ability to fall into the middle third of the pitch.
The Brasilia-born kid has another dribbling style, too, which just so happens to be like that of Kaka’s. He does not slalom past opponents but rather powers past them into space. Yet despite this efficacy when it comes to ball usage, he has still got plenty of Samba flair.
Effective in one-on-one scenarios and tactically switched on enough to execute team instructions.
He has that mix that all Atléti players appear to have. However, it’s fascinating to hear Reinier mention Zinedine Zidane as his footballing idol: “I am heavily motivated by [Zinedine] Zidane. I’ve watched plenty of videos online of him playing.
Stylistically, he could not be farther removed from the World Cup winner. Yes, both can control the ball in ways you would not really believe but Reinier is by no means as flamboyant as the Frenchman was on a soccer pitch, at least not yet.
But he should still choose a move into the Wanda Metropolitano. It’s the perfect environment for a player who’s still developing.
João Félix made the move to the Spanish capital in the summer, entrusting Simeone with his advancement knowing full well he will find a tactical education under the passionate Argentine.
Far from the final product at the moment, the notion of Reinier andFélix spearheading the Atletico assault in a couple of decades is one that will excite people at the club, particularly once you consider both Real Madrid and Barcelona have aging attacks.