Between Campeonato Brasileiro, Copa do Brasil, Sudamericana and Libertadores, the country’s elite football clubs are preparing for a veritable marathon of matches until the end of the season. Within that, the grassroots categories emerge as the big bet for the main Serie A teams.
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Successful cases in this regard, Palmeiras and Flamengo are two examples that “encourage” similar moves by other Brazilian teams. Both have been betting on launching youngsters from the youth ranks to the professional team in recent seasons and, in addition to rapid sporting success, they have also secured a special eye on the European transfer market.
Verdão achieved the conquest of two Libertadores and a Copa do Brasil with athletes like Danilo, Gabriel Menino, Patrick de Paula, Wesley and Gabriel Veron as protagonists. Patrick de Paula has already earned Palmeiras around R$32 million when he sold 50% of the athlete’s rights to Botafogo.
In addition, six athletes revealed by the base are retained in the main team. This number should increase after the Copinha title with strong performances from Fabinho, Giovanni, Gabriel Silva and Endrick.
In the classic against Santos last Sunday, Gabriel Menino, recently promoted defender Naves and midfielder Fabinho were ‘Crias da Academia’ put to good use by Abel Ferreira. The big star of this generation, midfielder Danilo misses Verdão precisely to defend the main Brazilian team for the first time.
In Flamengo, names like Hugo Souza, Matheuzinho and João Gomes appear as solutions in a vast cast of stars. In business, the sales of Reniê and Vini Jr. for Real Madrid filled Alvinegro’s coffers with an impressive R$318 million. Vini, in addition to enjoying the year of consolidation in European football, ended his season in style by scoring the Merengue title goal in the Champions League final.
With 17 players revealed in the basic categories making up the current professional team, Botafogo is the team, among the 20 that will compete in Serie A, with the greatest participation of young people in the main team. One of them caught the eye: Matheus Nascimento. The attacking midfielder stood out in the Campeonato Carioca with great performances and scored five goals. At 18, he claims only one place among the holders of Fogão.
– A new positioning of Botafogo’s core categories is a priority in John Textor’s strategic vision. Our new coach, Luís Castro, has extensive experience in the training of athletes and we will develop an excellent job in this new phase of the club – highlighted the director of football of Botafogo, André Mazzuco.
Bolstering their history as a formative club and big revelations, Santos are the second team currently taking advantage of youngsters in their front-running squad. Without much power to act in the ball market, due to the financial situation, the club rely on the base gems and have 16 in the formation of the squad that go to Serie A.
Immediately after comes Internacional in third place, tied with São Paulo. Both rely on their workforce with 14 players revealed in the base. For Inter general manager of youth categories, Felipe de Oliveira, the use of youngsters goes beyond sporting and economic factors.
– In addition to allowing the economic structuring of the club, which like any Brazilian club still needs to sell athletes to balance its accounts, the use of the base reinforces the values and culture of Inter, it also becomes a link important with supporters – rated Felipe .
At Tricolor, football director Rui Costa spoke of the involvement of different sectors of the São Paulo club in this process of revealing and maturing players.
– The São Paulo base has always been very solid, it is used to revealing great professionals and offering athletes the possibility of reaching the main team with a projection of natural protagonism. Now it has been no different and this work is the result of all the boards, technical committees, executives and the important daily dialogue of Muricy – he commented before finishing:
– Obviously, all this is also made possible by the support given by the club’s board of directors, who know that this formative DNA is essential for the club, by the existence of experienced and more mature athletes who accompany the young people who arrive and, above all, by the fact that we have a coach who believes, knows and improves this training process – he concluded.
With seven athletes in the main group, Fortaleza, which is playing the Copa Libertadores for the first time in its history this year, is preparing for a marathon of games in 2022. According to club vice-president Alex Santiago, the planning for the The use of young people goes through precisely this busy schedule.
– We have a calendar with a lot of matches during the year, so we have prepared these young athletes to be always ready. Many of them, up to the under 17s, are already training with the professional, maintaining high intensity and competitiveness. Our work is focused on the maturation of these athletes, so that they bring sporting gains to Fortaleza and, subsequently, are launched in the market. Vojvoda (main team coach) was already a basic coach, he has experience with this process and that’s another reason that brought him here – he revealed.
Consolidating their territory in the top flight of Brazilian football, Cuiabá has just two home-grown athletes in the squad that will compete in the top division. They are goalkeeper Eduardo Capellari and side Caio Hila. However, Dourado plans to strengthen its base department and, for this, has hired the former base coordinator of São Paulo, Pedro Smania. Taking up the challenge, Smania spoke about this new look at Cuiabá.
– The club has realized the importance of grassroots categories for Brazilian football and how much it gives back to the teams and, therefore, is looking for a new project. Our job will be to structure the basic categories to start the medium and long term feed of athletes to the main team. It is still embryonic, but we have all the working conditions to develop it – he wonders.
As in 2021, Corinthians is another team that repeats the formula and is again among the leaders in terms of youth use for Brasileirão 2022, with 13 local athletes making up the main squad.
Recently, Timão agreed to bring back midfielder Maycon, “son of the earth”, sold to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018 for almost R$30 million. Due to the war the country is facing with Russia, the athlete was repatriated on loan until the end of the season and approves the list of basic players who form the alvinegro group.
Last season, the leaders in the use of the Brasileiro base were Internacional, Corinthians and Grêmio. All even had a greater presence of revealed athletes at home than of contracted athletes. In all, 21 young people from the base came to sign match summaries for the three teams.
At Inter, 17 “outside” players contested the championship, while at Corinthians there were 18 and at Grêmio 19. The other 17 teams participating in the elite had a lower base than the contracted athletes. Cuiabá was the only team not to register the participation of an athlete from its base divisions during the Brasileirão.