Lucas Paqueta – The next big thing from Brazil

Atalanta BC v AC Milan - Serie A
BERGAMO, ITALY - FEBRUARY 16: Lucas Paqueta of AC Milan in action during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and AC Milan at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on February 16, 2019 in Bergamo, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Lucas Tolentino Coelho de Lima – Paqueta is a 21-year old Brazilian attacking midfielder who plays for Italian club AC Milan.

Lucas Paqueta started his career in the youth academy of Flamengo and won the 2016 Copa Sao Paulo de Juniores title, the most important youth tournament in Brazil.

At the age of 15, he had bone problems that, as confessed by his youth coach Carlos Naval, had stopped his natural growth in a disturbing way.

Flamengo put him through a specific medical treatment, which was really successful. Paqueta has grown rapidly, gaining an unbelievable 27 centimeters in the next three years.

He made his debut for the senior team in March 2016, at the age of 18, but his breakthrough season came in 2018 when the youngster netted 10 goals in the Brazilian league.

His performances in the domestic league got him the attention of many European giants, with Barcelona and Manchester United among the others.

However, it was AC Milan that secured the signature of the Brazilian for a reported fee of €35 million.

Paqueta joined Milan in January 2019 and because of his mother’s Portuguese descent, he was eligible for registration as a European player.

As a Brazilian, Paqueta is an extremely talented football player and he is excellent with the ball. He is primarily playing as an attacking midfielder and his job is to make a connection between midfield and attack.

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He has slotted straight into Milan’s youthful midfield trio alongside Frank Kessie and Tiemoue Bakayoko and thanks to the vision, ball control and the ‘Brazilian touch’ he possesses, Paqueta has already established himself as the main playmaker in Gutusso’s side.

His versatility makes him more effective, as the 21-year old can also play as a central midfielder, left winger or even a false nine.

His skills and speed help him beat the opposition’s full-backs when he plays wide, and he has already proved his finishing ability in the shirt of Flamengo.

“He seems like a European player, not a Brazilian,” his boss, Genarro Gattuso told AC Milan’s official channel last month.

“He has the Brazilian style but knows how to position himself on the pitch. He mixes technique and physical power. He quickly understands the concepts we give him.”

Paqueta has played 7 games in the Serie A and has notched one goal and one assist.

He is improving game by game and the Rossoneri fans already see him as the successor of his compatriot Ricardo Kaka – the man who led AC Milan to their last Champions League title in 2007.

The 21-year old has represented Brazil in two occasions and is part of the exciting young generation alongside Vinicius Junior, Richarlison and Arthur Melo.