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Brasileirão: 10 players to watch in the 2024 campaign

Pablo Maia
Nathan Joyes

With the 2024 Brasileirão season kicking off on April 13th, South American expert Nathan Joyes has hand-picked ten players worth keeping a close eye on.

Athletico PR: Bento (GK)

Now on the radar of many European clubs after making his Seleção debut, Bento (24) has arguably been the most consistent domestic-based goalkeeper in Brazil over the last 18 months.

The Brazilian is composed, a brilliant shot-stopper, quick off his line when called upon and one of the best in the country for collecting crosses.

He may be behind Alisson and Ederson in the pecking order for the national team, but make no mistake that Bento has a huge future ahead of him.

Previously linked with Benfica and now heavily with Inter, it appears only a matter of time before we see the 24-year-old plying his trade in Europe.

Internacional: Robert Renan (DF)

The former Corinthians centre-back has returned to the Brasileirão on loan from Zenit for the entire 2024 campaign. Renan (20) failed to break into the Russian club’s starting XI regularly, but back in an environment where he caught the eye, there’s plenty of optimism around his return.

It isn’t a certainty Renan will be in the starting XI as Internacional have brought in Sevilla’s Fernando (36) and Vitao has been a regular since his arrival from Shakhtar in 2022. However, he’s joined an exciting project and the youngster hasn’t returned to sit on the bench.

Strong in and out of possession, his eye-catching long balls have become a trademark part of his game, as have his ball-carrying runs into space in front of him.

Last year we witnessed Lucas Beraldo and Murillo catch the eye, and this year Renan could be the next left-footed centre-back to excel in the Brasileirão.

Vasco: Juan Sforza (MD)

Having left Newell’s Old Boys in the off-season, plenty of eyebrows were raised when Sforza (22) elected to join Vasco. The Argentine had a standout season in his native land, while impressing for Argentina’s U23 side during the pre-Olympic qualifiers.

Although his defensive duties come first in the number six role, Sforza’s vision and ability to find his teammates in progressive positions makes him an excellent distributor. 

Calm and composed, and with a similar profile to Fluminense’s André, he’s one who is likely to stand out in Brazil, and perhaps the move to Vasco is a stepping stone into Europe.

São Paulo: Pablo Maia (MD)

One of the more experienced players on the list, Pablo Maia’s (22) magnificent 2023 campaign saw him earn his Seleção debut vs England at Wembley. 

With previous links to Arsenal and Nottingham Forest, Maia will appear on the Libertadores stage after São Paulo won the Copa do Brasil - another opportunity to showcase his talents.

The defensive midfielder posted similar passing numbers to Fluminense’s André and is another no.6 destined to secure a high-profile move in the near future - you can read his full profile here.

Flamengo: Igor Jesus (MD)

Another defensive midfielder we’re expected to hear more about is Flamengo’s Igor Jesus. Visually, Jesus is strong and powerful and has the profile to fit a no.6 role. 

Yet looking beyond his physical appearance, the versatile midfielder has extremely quick feet in tight areas, spatial awareness to evade the press, and the ability to retrieve the ball and carry it up the pitch with ease. 

Under Tite, who clearly likes his talented midfielder, Jesus can continue to collect more senior minutes under his belt amongst a seriously talented squad. Many clubs are constantly looking at Flamengo’s production line, and those who are will be certainly impressed with Jesus’ profile.

Fortaleza: Kevin Andrade (MD)

Originally brought in on loan from Venezuelan club La Guaira, Andrade (18) sealed a permanent move after impressing early on with his new Brazilian team.

Finding pockets of space in and around the 18-yard box, Andrade isn’t one to shy away from long range strikes. However, often unselfish, clever flicks and outside of the boot through balls has seen him collect a handful of assists in the first half of 2024.

His overall striking and decision making need to improve, but the confidence he has to turn on the ball and drive at defences catches the eye, and without a doubt he’s one of Venezuela’s next exciting, young prodigies.

Having made his senior debut for Venezuela against Guatemala in March, many are extremely eager to see how he progresses in 2024, and it’s easy to see why.

Palmeiras: Luis Guilherme (LW)

The media attention is on Endrick after his move to Real Madrid who has impressed throughout the Copinha and early stages of 2024, but Luis Guilherme continues to sneak under the radar. Expect that to change over the next 12 months.

One of the best ball carriers in Brazil, the extremely talented winger has an electric turn of pace to glide past defenders and put his team on the front foot.

Able to deliver quality balls into the box, Guilherme is capable of delivering from set pieces, but prefers to operate on the right-hand side, cut in and work the goalkeeper. Abel Fereira will no doubt utilise his next sensation more in 2024, and Europe’s best will be keen to snap him up.

Palmeiras: Estêvão (RW)


By now, many have heard or seen YouTube compilations of Estêvão, who has some of the best clubs in world football sniffing around.

Nicknamed “Messinho”, it isn’t difficult to see why he has been compared to the greatest footballer of all time. And although that’s a bold claim, the Brazilian may just be the most exciting youngster to come out of the country in quite some time.

Not only ruthless in the final third, Estêvão is an effective showman who gets the crowd on their feet - a reason why many of us love the game so much.

Palmeiras’ impressive academy continues to produce world-class talent, who are amongst the favourites for the Copa Libertadores. 

Atlético Mineiro: Alisson Santana (RW)

Another winger worth following, Santana (19) loves operating on the right-hand side and cutting in onto his preferred left foot.

Having already shown a tremendous amount of strength for his age, it’s often hard to prevent the Brazilian from skipping past defenders.

Far from a one trick pony, Santana can work the touchline, enjoys playing in overlapping full-backs but has both the vision and execution to pick out attackers inside the box.

Under the leadership of Gabriel Milito, the 19-year-old will be learning from one of the best coaches on the continent, and we can expect to see the youngster to be rewarded with plenty of first-team opportunities on either wing.

Gremio: Nathan Fernandes (LW/ST)

After a handful of cameos last season, Nathan Fernandes (19) is likely to have more senior opportunities due to certain key departures. A ten-minute cameo was all he needed to showcase his talents in the Gaucho final vs Juventude, bursting into the box to tap home from close range.

Operating on the wing or as a striker, the left-footed Brazilian has shown a sharp turn of pace, confidence in possession and plenty of self-belief to give the manager a headache selection as the season goes on.

Physically strong and composed in front of goal, Gremio’s ball-carrying, skillful attacker has the potential to be their next breakthrough talent in 2024.


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