After a pulsating Copa Libertadores 2010 semi-final second leg at the Estadio Morumbi in which Sao Paulo won 2-1 against fellow Brazilian outfit Internacional but lost on away goals (2-2 aggregate), Jon Clarke takes a closer look at one of the stars of that game, seemingly soon to be on his way out of Brazil…
Anderson Hernanes de Carvalho Andrade Lima (Hernanes)
(Sao Paulo / Brazil)
The attraction of European football, playing for the biggest clubs in the world and earning an incredibly high wage, is just too much to pass off for a lot of South American youngsters. This is why South American football is not what it used to be. The highly talented youngsters that look set to tear up Brazil in years to come are snapped up by clubs such as Manchester United (Rafael & Fabio) and AC Milan (Alexandre Pato & Kaka). But what of the talented players that stay in Brazil? Do they fade away in terms of attention, or do they gain a bigger reputation?
In my opinion, the greatest player outside of Europe, is Hernanes. The 25 year old has only one international cap to his name, and failed to make the Brazil side for the World Cup 2010, as expected by the majority, but there is no denying the talent he possesses. Under Muricy Ramalho, Hernanes helped Sao Paulo lift the Campeonato Brasileiro twice in a row, in 2007 and 2008, and has won many individual awards himself.
Hernanes has been dubbed ‘the new Kaka’ many times, but I, as one of many, fail to see the similarities. With only 3 years between them, it seems silly in my eyes to call the younger, ‘the new’. In terms of playing style, Hernanes is more of a controlled, defensive player, compared to Kaka, who gets himself into an attacking midfielder role more often than not. Hernanes slows the play down before looking for the killer ball, whereas Kaka likes to join each attack and make his presence in the opposition penalty area known.
Hernanes is a very versatile player however, and if needs be, he can play at a similar style to Kaka, getting forward as an attacking midfielder. Hernanes is also prepared to shoot at goal, which he is capable of doing comfortably.
Many big European teams have expressed an interest in the midfielder, and the man himself has not ruled out a move to the continent. At the time of writing, Italian Serie A outfit Lazio look to be leading the race for his signature. Sao Paulo have stated that a large fee would be required to take Hernanes away from the Morumbi, somewhere in the region of £15,000,000, but after Sao Paulo’s elimination from the Copa Libertadores 2010 at the hands of Internacional in the semi-finals, a move for Hernanes now seems inevitable.
Though Sao Paulo quote a large sum of money, would Hernanes’ signature at this price be considered a bargain? How long can the world’s best player outside of Europe resist the temptation? That may just be answered over the course of the next season.
(pic via Junior Faria on Flickr)