While most clubs invest in multi-million-pound transfers to win silverware, Sao Paulo have opted for an alternative route to success.The Brazilian Serie A club have turned to their youth set-up this season, with 10 players in the squad having come through the junior ranks.
And Milton Cruz’s men are reaping the rewards in the current campaign, notching six wins from their first nine games this season.
Nineteen-year old Casimiro is one prodigy to have caught the eye this term, generating interest from European heavyweights such as Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur.
“I expected a good start, but not as good as it was,” Casimiro said. “Five wins in a competition like the Brasileiro is very difficult. You play the leaders or the teams at the bottom with the same intensity, it’s always a final.”
Another courting interest from Europe is midfielder Lucas Silva, who scored three goals in five games before joining up with the Brazil national team to compete in the Copa America.
Centre-back Luiz Eduardo is the latest to break into the Sao Paulo first team, and has also enjoyed an impressive start to the season.
Behind their success is a forward-thinking training scheme, where youngsters mix with seasoned professionals, and grow comfortable in their surroundings.
“When you come here to the pro’s training centre, you instantly feel at home,” Casimiro added.
“We often play around saying this feels like a school because there are so many kids, but it’s nice to arrive and have your friends here.”