Many football fans will be familiar with the seal dribble – but very few will remember its ‘inventor’, Brazilian child prodigy Kerlon.
Okay, maybe that’s not the right term – though it must’ve felt quite appropriate 11 years ago, after the U-17 South American Championship. He scored 8 goals to win the Top Scorer and Best Player awards, leaving his club side Cruzeiro salivating at his prospects. The following season, they won the league title.
By 2008, Kerlon had made just 29 appearances and a single goal but the ‘seal dribble’ had attracted serious interest and he was signed by Inter (through an agreement with Chievo) in 2008. In the next four years, injuries would limit him to only five competitive games for four different teams, and not a single one for Inter Milan.
He had a slightly happier spell as a free transfer for Fujieda MYFC in Japan, scoring 9 in 22 games – in 2 years!
His nomadic career has taken him on trial with one club in the US before signing with another team. It’s also taken him on the same path but this time in Malta, where he played for Sliema Wanderers.
Now, the diminutive forward is back in Brazil – playing fourth-tier football (which only started seven years ago) and dreaming about seals and dribbles!