Russia 2018 may be three years away, but it appears it is not too soon for Brazil’s media to proclaim a new World Cup star in waiting. Boschilia, the player in question, is only 19 but, having shone for Brazil’s youth teams and already being courted by Barcelona, the suggestion he may star for the Seleçāo in Russia may not be as far fetched as it sounds.
The attacking midfielder began his youth career with Guarani of Campinas, but was soon snapped up by local giants Sāo Paulo. He first came to national attention in 2013 when he shone for Brazil at the World Under-17 Championship, netting six goals in four games on the way to the quarter final where he missed out through suspension as his side lost to Mexico on penalties.
Starring for the Seleçāo
At the currently on-going World Under-20 Championship in New Zealand Boschilia’s performances in another run to the quarter final have been widely praised, although he has had to share his attacking midfield role with Manchester United’s Andreas Pereira. In the opening game against Nigeria the Sāo Paulo youngster played a particularly pivotal role after his half-time introduction, assisting one goal and scoring another – a brilliantly struck, low 25-yard drive – as Brazil won 4-2.
That deadly shooting ability is arguably Boschilia’s prize asset. He is nominally left-footed, but can strike with unerring power and accuracy on either side and is a set-piece specialist, with several goals from direct free-kicks to his name and even one direct from a corner (an Olympic goal, as they are known in Brazil) during a Sāo Paulo youth tournament.
Cunning movement in the final third and the vision and passing ability to rip open opposition defences with precise and well timed through balls are further strings to the 19-year-old’s bow.
With such ability, reports of Barcelona’s interest in the midfielder came as no surprise to observers in Brazil, although they did prompt Sāo Paulo bosses to scramble to renew his contract until 2019. Boschilia has, however, had first team opportunities limited this season in the face of fierce competition from Paulo Henrique Ganso and Michel Bastos and there was uproar when reports suggested (incorrectly as it turned out) that he would start instead of the former in a crucial Copa Libertadores match at San Lorenzo in March.
Rumours of a European move may, therefore, be somewhat premature, a suspicion confirmed by former Sāo Paulo boss Muricy Ramalho, who cautioned that the youngster needs more experience before he would be ready to join Barcelona.
That experience, however, should not be long in coming and Boschilia will surely be performing before a European audience sooner rather than later.
Written by Calum Leahy
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