"He's going to be much better than me" - Juninho lavishes praise on 18-year-old midfielder who will imminently join Chelsea

Juninho lauds upcoming Chelsea signing Santos
Juninho lauds upcoming Chelsea signing Santos

Brazilian legend Juninho Pernambucano has heaped praise on Chelsea-linked Andrey Santos, backing him to have a bright future. In an interview in July 2022, Juninho lauded the youngster’s technical ability and physical attributes.

On January 1, renowned Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano claimed that Chelsea had signed 18-year-old Brazilian midfielder Santos from Vasco da Gama. The transfer guru revealed that the Blues would pay €12.5 million for his transfer.

Juninho, who is widely hailed as one of the best free-kick takers (77 goals) in history, had spoken about his young countryman Santos in July last year. The former attacking midfielder claimed that Santos was ready to play in the big leagues, and backed the teen sensation to become a much better player than he was.

Juninho said (via Fabrizio Romano):

“I've never seen a player, at 18, as ready as he is.
“Physically, he's a beast, technically he's on a high level. He's not going to be better than me, he's going to be much better than me.”

Santos, who plays as a central midfielder at Vasco da Gama, has been with the club all his life. Widely hailed as one of the best young midfielders around, Santos has already played 37 times for Vasco da Gama’s senior team, scoring eight times.

Chelsea endure a disappointing 1-1 draw in the first match of 2023

Graham Potter’s Blues, meanwhile, were held to an underwhelming 1-1 draw by Nottingham Forest in their Premier League meeting on January 1. The stalemate has left the west London outfit in a tricky position in the top-four race.

Having picked up 25 points from 16 matches, they currently find themselves in eighth place in the Premier League standings, sitting seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 16th minute, tucking home the rebound after Willy Boly’s clearance rebounded off the crossbar and fell in the Englishman’s path. His goal was canceled out by Serge Aurier in the 63rd minute, with the right-back putting away Boly’s delivery on the half-volley.

Potter’s side lacked the cutting edge up top and lodged only two shots on target on Sunday night. Relegation-threatened (18th placed) underdogs Nottingham, on the other hand, ended the game with five on-target attempts.

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Edited by Sushan Chakraborty
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