What is it with Brazil and football?
Nobody plays football quite like the mesmerising and utterly brilliant Brazilians do, right?
Be that as it may, we cannot really argue against the facts. Facts state that the South American nation produces some of the most gifted, talented and best players the planet has ever seen.
Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and even Neymar, are all superstars and they are still very much present on their fans’ lips, regardless of whether they are still playing or not.
But it has been a while now since a Brazilian took the stage by storm. Sure, we hear about youngsters with huge potential almost on a daily basis, and many are probably from Brazil, too.
One of which is Flamengo’s young starlet Reinier, a player who has been linked with Real Madrid, AC Milan, Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Everton this summer.
But who is the rising star and what makes him so special?
Reinier is the hugely talented graduate of Flamengo’s youth academy, the same one that birthed the likes of Vinicius Junior and Lucas Paqueta.
Apart from featuring in Flamengo’s U20 squad, he has already tasted the international stage with the Brazil U17 team. Last season he even appeared for Flamengo’s senior team and gained some minutes. But it’s actually the young national team that made everyone realise what kind of a talent he is.
In a total of nine appearances, he has already scored five goals. The sample may still be rather small and the database not entirely sufficient for such a young player but, particularly for a midfielder, this is quite the impressive tally.
What are some of his more prominent traits? Obviously, we have his prowess and the ability to score goals, which can be concluded just by observing his stats alone.
But he is a player graced with great technical ability, vision, creativity and fantastic ball control. Overall, that makes him an extremely skilful asset to his team.
Preferably, this youngster takes up the position of an attacking midfielder and takes up a playmaking role, as Wyscout’s graphic above can tell us. His vision and passing abilities make him great at creating chances. You will most likely see him positioned just behind the striker in that number 10 role.
At Flamengo he often has that licence to roam the final third freely, which means that he is very mobile and dynamic in and around the penalty area, always on the move and always active on and off the ball.
But that positioning plays a very big role in his overall gameplan. He’s also intelligent enough to know when and where to reposition himself to constantly be a danger to the other team and an asset to his own. A quick look at his heatmap will tell a better story of his positioning.
Reinie tends to occasionally drop a bit deeper into the midfield to help fuel the build-up and progress the ball forward, which we can also read from the map above.
In general, he will do that by either using his composure and security on the ball, meaning that he won’t lose it often, or via his great passing range that enables him to distribute the ball forward successfully.
Last season, he averaged 83.3% passing accuracy according to Wyscout’s database and also made 4.8 dribbles per game across all competitions. His security on the ball is visible from just 30.4% of lost balls in his own half.
His dribbling abilities, which shouldn’t be disregarded, also mean that he is a threat when put in an isolated situation with his marker. That, combined with his decent shooting, both from close and long-range, make him deadly in the final third and in fast transitions down the channels. Last season, in all competitions, he averaged 1.36 shots per game with 46.7% actually hitting the target.
And have we already mentioned he is only 17? It’s a really tender age, granted, and drawing big conclusions at this point would do us no good but the talent and potential has already been laid bare.
The future looks bright for Reinier and now it’s up to the player to show the necessary level of desire and determination to succeed to realise his potential.