Brazil is considered the Mecca of football, a country truly belonging in football history and possessing a massive pool of talent. With a production line full of potential world class players, Brazil has always had a strong youth segment and has five World Cup titles to show for all the talent.
Over the last decade or so, the squad has gradually weakened due to the retirement or ageing of Brazil’s superstars like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos and Kaka amongst others. The Brazilian team has had to wait patiently to replace such esteemed professionals, and now possess a core of brilliant players like Neymar, Coutinho, Firmino, and Thiago Silva.
In order to compliment these superstars, Brazil finds itself with a batch of highly talented youngsters aiming to establish themselves in the footballing world.
Here are the five best U-23 players already in the public eye or those who should expect to be the talk of the town soon:
It seems as if Marquinhos has been around for way too long to be considered for this list but the Brazilian and PSG centre back is just 22 years old. Touted to be one of the best young talents in Brazil, Marquinhos came through the ranks at Corinthians in 2002, at the age of 17.
Playing a handful games in the season led to a transfer to the historic city of Rome for a fee ranging between €1.5 - €3 million. Less than two months into the season, Roma’s manager Zdenek Zeman promoted him from the bench to a starting position.
His career trajectory zipped rapidly as he appeared in 30 games over the season, including the loss in the finals of the Coppa Italia.
In 2013, cash-rich PSG came calling for his services and acquired him for roughly €30 million, his valuation had increased tenfold within a year. Eligible for and interested in representing the Portugal national team, Marquinhos immediately received his first call up to the Brazilian squad in October 2013.
Over the last three seasons, he’s managed to win nine trophies with PSG and an Olympic gold medal with his national team.
Marquinhos has been constantly linked with Barcelona to solve their defensive troubles and replace the iconic Carlos Puyol. Considering his relatively young age, and a resume to be proud of, the future is in his hands. With Thiago Silva alongside him as a mentor and colleague, Marquinhos will be a mainstay at a Champions League club and the Brazilian team for at least a decade.