(Palmeiras / Brazil)
While the flames of football passion in Brazil have recently been reignited thanks to the repatriation of a certain Ronaldo, at the opposite end of the age spectrum the emergence of another wildly promising forward talent has people in this proud footballing nation thinking: Just what might become of Keirrison?
For the budding scout or simply the keen football enthusiast keeping an eye out for the game’s next big thing, Brazil, with its rich tradition of producing supremely talented footballers, is always a pretty good place to look. And in Brazil right now, Keirrison de Souza Carneiro is that next big thing.
Keirrison, or K9 as he is known in his homeland, is currently one of the most talked about players in Brazil. The young striker’s rise to prominence from the junior leagues of Mato Grosso do Sul to national fame at Palmeiras, one of Brazil’s biggest clubs, is a story that has taken this footballing nation by storm. Indeed, since Ronaldo’s move to Corinthians, many have even wondered if the Keirrison/Ronaldo partnership might be the one to lead Brazil in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Born in 1988, a young Keirrison made a name for himself courtesy of his consistently excellent goal tallies in the junior leagues of South-West Brazil. Shattering scoring records for fun at CENE and in Mato Grosso do Sul’s first team, it was not long before Keirrison’s cool nature in front of goal and lethal finishing alerted the attention of professional clubs.
After becoming the all-time top scorer in the Parana Metropolitan Youth Championship at 17, with a record 23 goals in one season, Keirrison moved to Coritiba in 2007. It was at Coritiba, a middle of the range outfit with limited talent, that Keirrison’s talent really began to shine. Promoted to the first team in 2007, Keirrison’s goals contributed significantly to the Serie B outfit’s promotion into Brazil’s top division, and from there he has not looked back.
In 2008, K9 won the golden boot in the Parana state championship with 18 goals, before further proving his outstanding potential in Serie A, hitting a remarkable 21 goals in 31 games. He finished joint top scorer in only his first season in the top flight.
In terms of strikers, Keirrison, whose name is an oddly constructed derivative in tribute to rock musician Jim Morrison from The Doors (his brother is called Kimarrison), is more of an out-and-out goalscorer than a playmaker – more Van Nistelrooy than Bergkamp. He boasts a wicked shot with that powerful right foot of his, but is also cute when he needs to be and knows perfectly well when and how to place his shots, a skill he uses often.
Positionally very aware and enough of a physical presence upfront to cause defenders problems, Keirrison also possesses wonderful technique and a good first touch. His finishing is his main asset though, and Keirrison can score all different types of goals. Having said that, his left foot could use some improvement.
Keirrison is just one of a number of players in Brazil owned by the sports investment company Traffic Sports Management. They own 80% of the player while his club Palmeiras own 20%. Although the youngster has made a promising start to his career with Verdao, his contract runs out in April 2009. Traffic will be looking for a big money move and a valuable sell-on fee, which means Keirrison may not be at Palmeiras, or in Brazil, for much longer.
Given the gap in quality between Brazilian top flight football and the major European leagues, it would probably be of more benefit to Keirrison’s career in the long run if he were to start life abroad at a league with a slightly slower tempo, rather than rushing straight into the fast-paced pressure cooker atmospheres of places like Spain and England. Perhaps following in the footsteps of Romario into Dutch football would be a better idea, or Portugal for example.
However, given Traffic’s stake in the player they will be looking to extract maximum dividends from their investment, and so a high-profile move to a major European club seems likely. Hopefully that will not hinder the player’s development. Far better for him to experience first team football rather than stagnate in Real Madrid or Liverpool’s reserve team.
Certainly, K9 has the talent, ruthlessness in front of goal and that extra bit of bite to go far. Just how well his inevitable move to Europe is handled by the people around him will be a crucial factor in his career progression. But the signs are good for Keirrison, and who knows – we may well be seeing him involved in Brazil’s plans for the World Cup in 2010.