Having seen rivals Argentina take all the glory in the last few years, Brazil are hitting back hard with a cluster of sensational youth prospects, but few are as primed and ready as the teenager forcing a major European bidding war.
Eighteen is a very formative year in most people’s lives. The first of official adulthood, where the world opens up to you in full.
For most of us, it signifies finally being able to stroll into the shop or a pub and proudly buy alcohol, knowing you’re armed with a perfectly valid ID that means you cannot fail to be served.
Between that, the near-daily runs to the pie shop at college and the transition from smashing Xbox to glugging pints, it’s no wonder we aren’t where Gabriel Moscardo is right now.
While we continue on our mission of transforming into someone who looks destined for the Ally Pally in elite darts competition, Moscardo has devoted his life thus far to giving absolutely everything to football – and boy is it paying off.
Blessed already with a flurry of incredibly impressive physical attributes, the 18-year-old was born in Taubate and has enjoyed a modest yet quietly impressive rise in Brazilian football.
Six years on from joining Corinthians as an adolescent, he was given his senior debut from the bench- in the Copa Libertadores, no less – as they beat Liverpool (the Uruguayan side) in June this year.
Since then, Moscardo has flourished in the senior game, with that impressive physical base excelling in a more competitive environment.
Standing at 6ft 1, age is but a number for the teenager who makes himself an absolute nuisance to duel with in midfield thanks to a brilliant tackling ability and a reading of the game that he simply shouldn’t possess for someone so green.
While most Brazilians are known for their flair, Moscardo has quickly established himself as the anti-hero in a way.
Don’t expect Joga Bonito to be alive and well when watching him. A complete destroyer at the base of midfield, his work on the ball still has plenty of room to improve, but given his rapid physical development and the fact he has that Brazilian gene burning inside of him, there’s no reason why he can’t pick it up.
One recent tool he’s added to his game – which has us off our feet here at Planet Football – is his eye for an absolute sh*tpinger. And Vasco da Gama felt the full wrath of that in a 4-2 defeat to Corinthians.
With the game finely poised at 2-2, the 18-year-old found himself on the edge of the box with the ball at his feet, his side’s fate and his own legacy right before him.
What does he do? Takes one clean touch and absolutely rifles it into the bottom corner, with enough venom to scare off a King Cobra.
— Tom Maston (@TomMaston) November 29, 2023
Pick that one out. Flawless technique. Absolutely no chance you’re putting your hands behind that rocket.
The teenager developing at an alarming rate and has already shown a hunger that has kept him in the Corinthians side since his debut, as well as a potential that has Chelsea desperate to strike a deal before United can swoop in and bring him up north instead.
That is, of course, if they aren’t beaten by Paris Saint-Germain.
The French side are also hot on his tails and Fabrizio Romano states they have been following the teenager for ‘months’. The race is hotting up.
Whisper it quietly, but between the crunching tackles, inch-perfect anticipation and IQ, and now the long-range worldies, you can’t help but be reminded of Casemiro when watching Moscardo strut his stuff.
There’s a long way to go, but from his rapid development from his senior debut in June, to making the Brazil under-23 squad in September and now being closely followed by some of Europe’s biggest clubs ahead of the January transfer window, the potential is clear to see.
Moscardo is Brazil’s next anti-hero, who can be the glue holding together the Joga Bonito around him in the next generation of the Selecao.
By Mitch Wilks