Opinion: The Premier League is still waiting for its Brazilian icon

Manchester City v Liverpool FC - Premier League
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 03: Fernandinho of Manchester City is challenged by Roberto Firmino of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool FC at the Etihad Stadium on January 3, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Let’s talk about Brazilian players and their struggles through the history of English football.

Brazil and football – what a love story that is. The South American nation has produced some of the finest talents ever seen, winning record five World Cups in the history of the beautiful game.

But while the likes of Pele, Romario, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho have dominated European and international football, the English Premier League is still waiting for its first real icon coming from the golden sands of Copacabana.

Mirandinha was the first Brazilian to play professionally in England, joining Newcastle for Ā£575,000 back in 1987. He left a team relegated to Division Two, ultimately unable to fulfill his full potential.

His compatriots that followed also struggled, failing to adapt to the physical demands of English football. Brazilians, by nature, are quick and talented football players, who could basically do anything with the ball. They are all skilfull and technically gifted, being able to understand themselves with their eyes closed.

However, football in England through the years has always been physical. Long balls, ruthless challenges, aerial duels – that is the football style of an average football team from the UK. And tiny as they are, the Brazilians never managed to fully adapt to it.

Another reason why they’ve failed to perform on the very best level in English football is their poor work ethic. The Selecao stars have been blessed with great technique and creativity, but If there is any league in the world were skill simply isnā€™t enough and hard work is a must, it is definitely the Premier League.

Former Manchester United midfielders Anderson and Kleberson, Roque Junior, Paulinho, Julio Baptista and Robinho are just few of the star names that came in England with big expectations but failed to meet them.

There were exceptions of course, with former Middlesbrough midfielder Juninho Paulista being the first Brazilian meet the demands of the English League. Arsenal legend Gilberto Silva also had a pretty good time in England playing a vital role in the Gunners’ Invincibles side back in 2004.

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Brazilians in the Premier League today

Maybe the Premier League has gone a bit softer over the past few years, but it seems like the Brazilians have finally started to perform.

Philippe Coutinho made a name for himself at Liverpool before joining Barcelona, while Roberto Firmino has noted 38 goals and 24 assists since joining the Reds three years ago.

David Luiz, Ramires, Oscar and Willian helped Chelsea to win two league crowns in the last five years, also guiding the club to Champions League glory back in 2012.

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has been irreplaceable in Pep Guardiola’s side this season, as the Citizens are chasing a domestic double. Unlikely to fellow Brazilians, Fernandinho is a hard-working player who is able to read the game defensively.

Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison have also done pretty well in the 2018-19 campaign, establishing themselves as some of the hottest prospects in Europe.

Brazil goalkeepers Alisson and Ederson have been excellent as well. In fact they are the best two in the league this season, fighting for the Golden Glove award with 20 and 19 clean sheets respectively.

But while all of these players perform on a very high level for their Premier League clubs, we cannot say that any of them has become a real icon in English football.

Who is your favorite Brazilian in the Premier League and which Selecao star would you like to see in England in future?

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