Lincoln steals the show in front of European scouts

Flamengo prospect Lincoln goes for the Mbappé celebration (pic: Gilvan de Souza/Flamengo)

Last night Grêmio and Flamengo went head to head in the first leg of their Copa do Brasil quarter final in front of the watching European scouts.

It is a shame that one of the focuses of a match of this of magnitude, between two of Brazil’s best teams, is on the scouts in attendance and speculation about the players they are watching. Sadly that is one of the realities of Brazilian football.

This is even part of the local teams’ business models – to develop young players, put them in the shop window and sell them at a profit. This was a comment made by Brazilfooty reader Renato in a post earlier this week on Pedro, Fluminense’s excellent young player.

Grêmio and Flamengo are two of Brazil’s most popular teams and better run clubs, which means that they are not under the same financial pressure to sell their best players as other clubs.

Nevertheless, ahead of this match yesterday, Brazilian sports news giant Globoesporte ran a story saying that as well as Tite, who has renewed his contract with the Seleção for another four years, scouts from Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen would be in the crowd to watch the game.

The names that they were said to be watching were the obvious two: Everton (of Grêmio) and Lucas Paquetá (of Flamengo). Now, I rate Everton Cebolinha very highly, but I’m not quite sure he is up to the standard of Manchester City. Certainly not now, and probably not in the future.

The real crown jewel in Brazilian football in my opinion, is Flamengo’s skillful playmaker Lucas Paquetá. Not only is he a creative player, but he is strong, scores goals and seems to have that stardust needed to be a top player.

As it happens, the young boy Lincoln (who came on as a sub) upstaged both of them last night after he scored an equalising goal for Flamengo three minutes into second half injury time. Unfortunately the game kicked off at 21:45 Brazilian time, which was 01:45 UK time, which meant that I couldn’t watch it live.

According to the match reports I’ve read this morning, Grêmio were on top in the first period. The evergreen fullback Léo Moura set up Luan – another player the scouts would have been looking at – to put Grêmio in the lead in the first half. Flamengo completely dominated the second half and fully deserved to equalise, even though it came with virtually the last kick of the game.

Grêmio’s chances weren’t helped by injuries to Léo Moura and Everton, who were both withdrawn – this was perhaps even more of a blow to Grêmio fans than the watching scouts. I’m no sure how Everton Cebolinha or Lucas Paquetá played. So I cannot comment on the impression that they left the scouts or the prospects of them leaving during this transfer window.

I do know that Lucas Paquetá missed a decent chance to equalise for Flamengo. But I also know that Flamengo played really well in the second half. And I have no doubt that if Flamengo played well, that Lucas Paquetá was a key part of that. Flamengo are right to insist on a fee of at least 50 million euros for their star player.

The second leg is in two weeks’ time at the Maracana stadium in Rio. The Brazilian transfer window closes at the end of August, as it does in the Europe, except England, where it closes next Thursday before the Premier League starts.

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