New Palmeiras striker Maikon Leite is ready to take the Brazil Serie A by storm after serious injury blighted the start of his career.The 22-year-old was beginning to make an impression at Santos when he badly damaged his knee in a league match three years ago.
On his return to fitness, Leite spent part of 2010 on loan at Atletico Paranaense, before beginning to force his way back into contention at Santos.
He scored seven goals in fourteen matches last season, as the Sao Paulo-based outfit clinched the 2011 Paulista and Copa Libertadores titles.
Despite his encouraging contribution, Leite was allowed to sign a pre-contract agreement with cross-city rivals Palmeiras in January, before joining on a five-year deal.
“In 2008 I just arrived at Santos, had played 11 games, I remember to this day,” he said.
“I was on the rise in football, people were getting to know Maikon Leite, then came the injury.”
“So people ended up getting to know me for the injury instead of titles and goals.”
But with two goals in his first three matches at Palmeiras, Leite is now starting to attract attention for the right reasons.
“Two titles for Santos this year and when I came to Palmeiras I scored a goal on my debut. I feel good,” he said.
Just one month after Leite’s arrival, his number seven shirt was already the best selling item in the club shop.
And if he can stay fit, the striker has every chance of fulfilling his potential under World Cup-winning coach Luis Felipe Scolari.
Palmeiras, fourth in the league table, are in action away to Coritiba on Thursday.