Real Madrid: The Brazilian talents who could be next to arrive
Brazil is a production line of talent. Vinicius and Rodrygo have already been signed by Real Madrid, but there's more where that came from.
Brazil is the market that Real Madrid are most keen to exploit these days. Having signed Vinicius and Rodrygo Goes, who is to move to the Bernabéu in 2019, the club's chief talent scout, Juni Calafat, who himself is Brazilian, continues to keep close tabs on the promising youngsters coming through in a country that produces many of the world's best players. Madrid have eyes on all the key youth football competitions taking place at both national and continental level, particularly the Copa São Paulo, Campeonato Brasileiro and Copa do Brasil U-20 tournaments, and the U-20, U-17 and U-15 South American Championships.
Here are some of the emerging prospects (all born in 2000 or later) who could follow Vinicius and Rodrygo's path from Brazil to the Spanish capital:
Vitor Gabriel (18, forward, Flamengo)
Performed excellently at the 2018 edition of the Copa São Paulo - also known as the 'Copinha' - where he was Flamengo's stand-out player, despite missing the final through suspension. He also missed the game against Vitoria in the Campeonato Brasileiro after being sent off in his side's opening match, and had to watch on as his team-mates were eliminated from the tournament.
Powerful, creative, penetrative and with a big personality, he has already made his debut and scored for Flamengo's first team, and is expected to make the definitive breakthrough imminently. He is developing at a quicker pace even than Lincoln, who was the starting centre-forward in Vinicius' Brazil U-17 team, and has become a more frequent presence in the Rubro-Negro's senior squad.
Alan (18, midfielder, Palmeiras)
One of Vinicius' partners in crime for the U-17s, Alan is short in stature with a low centre of gravity, boasts bags of quality and came firmly to Madrid's attention after his performances at the U-17 World Cup in India.
He is yet to make his senior bow for Palmeiras, but was called into the squad for the odd game last season. Hampered by his physical development - he remains very slight - he is also still to complete the leap to the Brazil U-20s. However, he is seen as one of the biggest talents in Brazilian youth football and, with this in mind, Palmeiras are preaching patience in their handling of the starlet.
Yuri Alberto (17, forward, Santos)
Emerged at Santos at pretty much the same time as Rodrygo and has even featured in the Copa Libertadores, although he has of late found his opportunities more limited. A powerful operator who is shaping up as a number nine, he has nevertheless regularly been used on the right wing by his club and Brazil U-17s, fulfilling the role to good effect. He perhaps lacks a touch of class with ball at feet, but is a fine finisher. He has scored for Santos in the Copa do Brasil and is just one more talent to come off the prolific Santos production line.
Yuri Cesar (17, forward, Flamengo)
Vinicius' natural replacement at Flamengo, he likes to play off the left wing and is quick, agile and hard for defenders to contain, putting on some terrific displays at the Campeonato Brasileiro. Called up to the Flamengo first-team squad against Atlético Mineiro, he did not make his debut in the end; however, his inclusion speaks volumes for the faith the club have in his talents.
In Brazil, it is already being said that Madrid are keeping a close eye on his progress, together with that of another winger, who excelled in the Copinha: Lucas Silva. If he maintains the progress that is drawing comparisons with Vinicius, we surely have a star in the making.
Kaio Jorge (16, forward, Santos)
One of the youngest players at the tournament, he was the focus of plenty of attention at the most recent Copinha. Though not a certain starter, he chipped in with goals and has the look of a footballer who will grab the next edition of the competition by the scruff of the neck.
Well developed physically for a 16-year-old, he stood out at the U-15 Campeonato Brasileiro and then again at its U-17 counterpart. He protects the ball very well, is excellent with his back to goal and possesses a keen eye for the back of the net. Despite his young age, he has already been in Santos squads. An out-and-out centre-forward of the sort that Brazil has long struggled to produce.
Gabriel Verón (15, forward, Palmeiras)
The 15-year-old winger gave Madrid untold headaches in the junior Club World Cup final in in June, leading Palmeiras to a 4-2 victory over Los Blancos that saw him score once and collect the man-of-the-match award. He also played - and dazzled - for Brazil in the U-15 South American Championship in 2017. Powerful and blessed with a wonderful right foot, he's always on the lookout for a chance to work the goalkeeper.