With the state leagues starting in just a matter of days I thought it would be a good idea to pick out 5 players to “keep an eye on” during the Paulista championship. Listed below are the 5 players I think can light up this competition and the reasons why(Not in numerical order).
Position: Inside forward
Neymar is without doubt the hottest prospect in South American football if not the world, the young play maker has the ability to change a game at any given moment. With more flair and skill than past master Robinho and a great attitude and proven goal record like Pele, Neymar is making history for himself and the club. Without Neymar, Santos would without doubt be relegated to Serie B so I reccomend you try and view as many Santos games as possible to watch the genius in action.
Although Palmeiras were relegated to Serie B, Barcos was Pal’s shining light and had it not been for him they would have been relegated a long time ago. As a fully fledged Argentine international the vultures were circling over a bargain deal for Barcos, but with Palmeiras qualifying for the Copa Libetedores(South American champions league) by winning the Copa do brasil(Brazilian FA cup) he has decided to stay on at the club. For me the top goalscorer award in this competition will go to either Neymar or Barcos and with H.Barcos’ lethal finishing I wouldn’t be surprised to see him snatch the award.
Injuries have not been kind to former Santos midfielder Ganso who has been plagued by constant knee injuries. Having moved to São Paulo for $8million last season Ganso will be hoping to get his career back on track, the Paulista championship is the perfect opportunity for him to do that. Nobody doubts Ganso’s talent, he has tremendous skill and his passing range is second to non it’s just a case of “will he stay fit?” this is a huge season for Ganso who is expected to fill in for Lucas Moura who was sold to PSG with many asking the question “will Ganso return to his best?” My answer, Yes!
This is probably the last opportunity Martinez will have to prove himself at his current club Corinthians having struggled to make an impact since signing from Velez. Martinez is in fact a fantastic winger who on his day is completely unplayable, he just doesn’t seem to have enough of those days to endear himself to the Corinthians faithful. Having already played in the English premier league with West Brom (on loan) Martinez has learnt a more physical side to his game and given the opportunities in this competition we could see him thrive.
Andrade will be given a lot of game time in the state championships this season and we should see Santos’ young player of the year flourish as the games go on. Andrade is already being scouted by Man city, Real Madrid and PSG, he is still only 17 years of age and looks to be the next big thing to come out of the Santos youth system. Having already shown his key eye for goal, unbelievable pace for the Brazil U20 side and Santos youth team last year this could be a huge season for Andrade.