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The Copa Club's Young Domestic Player 2023 Award: The Results




The votes are in for The Copa Club's Young Domestic Player of 2023 award. From Gabriel Moscardo's breakthrough year with Corinthians, to Endrick's superb goalscoring run of form, it's been quite the year for emerging South American talent.


Each invited expert had 50 points to split across the 10 players with the overall winner having the most points. The full 50 points had to be distributed, and every player had to be awarded at least one point.


Find out who our team of experts voted for below, their reasoning, before we move on to reveal the top three and overall winner.


Rondo Reports


🥇Endrick

🥈André

🥉Vitor Roque


At just 17 years old, Endrick was pivotal in the back end of Palmeiras’ league campaign. His vital goals across numerous fixtures helped lead the club to title glory. 


Endrick will soon be moving to Real Madrid and I don’t think he’ll look out of place. He has that superstar arrogance, devastating ball striking and finishing ability and innate Brazilian flair to get out of tight areas with bits of skill. 


He’ll be a mainstay at the top of global football for the next decade.


André was a key figure in Diniz’ game-changing strategy based on South American relationism, a direct opposite of European “positional play”. 


The Brazilian is a tenacious but technical central midfielder, who generally plays in a double pivot. His small frame means he’s evasive under pressure and can escape tough situations. Defensively he’s hyper-aware and has brilliant timing in the challenge. 


Now being an established senior player, I expect him to get a big move pretty soon.


While one Brazilian teenage striker joins Real Madrid, another joins their arch-rivals Barcelona. Vitor Roque seems like he has less hype than Endrick but he certainly is on the same level talent wise. 


An explosive striker, who is unstoppable at times with the ball at his feet. Possessing devastating movement both with and without the ball, he’s the perfect modern striker. 


Vitor Roque is a natural born killer in front of goal too, where he shows a ruthless nature when presented with a chance. Barca have a gem.


Jéssica Frota


🥇Endrick

🥈André

🥉Kendry Paez


I tried to analyse the impact of the players’ performances throughout the season for the club they were playing for, as well as their impact for their respective national teams.


In the end, it was impossible not to emphasise the weight of Endrick's performances in the final stretch of the season, which led Palmeiras to the Brasileirão title.


André's consistency, a key factor in Fluminense winning the Libertadores for the first time; and the records broken by Paez with Ecuador National Team, going from the youngest player to score in the FIFA U20 World Cup to the youngest ever goalscorer in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers, couldn’t be ignored.


The Elastico

🥇André

🥈Vitor Roque

🥉Paulinho


Fulham made an offer for Andre in January 2023, but he agreed with Fluminense to stay another year so they could try and win the Libertadores. That is exactly what they did.


A classic destroyer 6 with modern qualities on the ball, offering press resistant and both progressive passing and take ons.


He was central to the build-up play of the free flowing and headline grabbing Diniz-ball. A great character on top of it, bringing energy and grit. He is the heir apparent to Casemiro for Brazil after making his national debut this year, and Europe is now calling.


@Totoscrib


🥇Valentin Barco

🥈Marcos Leonardo

🥉Endrick


Barco comes out on top because he's the first of his profile and skill set to hail from Argentina. Comfortable as a LB, LW, and an '8' Barco always looks for solutions to get to the ball to final third.


The fact he caught the eye of the whole world while he was being managed by Hugo Ibarra and Jorge Almiron alone speaks volume about his potential.


Barco under the right manager could be in the same bracket as Trent Alexander Arnold.


Peter Pankovski


🥇André

🥈Vitor Roque

🥉Endrick/Marcos Leonardo


André was the best Brazilian player in South America this year and it’s as simple as that. He was fantastic under Diniz and integral in the way he carried the ball forward whilst maintaining his defensive duties and as such he gets my top pick.


Roque follows suit as he’s elevated furthermore and carried on his development into one of the best forwards that Brazil’ produced in recent year. I had looming questions about his finishing prior to this season but he stepped up phenomenally. 


Leonardo and Endrick tie for third after the former scoring another big number of goals to almost save Santos from relegation yet again whilst Endrick finally stepped up onto the scene in a massive way delivering stellar performances to help Palmeiras become champions again.


Nathalia Tavares


🥇Endrick

🥈André

🥉Paulinho


Although it may appear as though Endrick is a veteran at times, it was in 2023 that he had his first full season as part of Palmeiras’ first team.


After Palmeiras got knocked out of the Libertadores, Ferreira decided to make some changes in the team’s set up, which included Endrick becoming a starter for the team and, in the end, it paid off.


The 17-year-old displayed his wide range of skills and combined with his maturity, put in stand-out performances which led Palmeiras to their 12th Brasileirão title.


Fútbol Spy


🥇Endrick

🥈André

🥉Paulinho


The process of deciding on my number one pick was a pretty straight-forward one, in honesty.


Endrick’s is a name that has been on the lips of football fans world-wide for a while now, and for good reason. His seamless transition from youth level wonder-kid to first team phenom at Palmeiras was as outstanding as it was predictable.


For my money, his performance-level in the second half of the Brasilierão eclipses that of any other player on the list. At times, it quite literally felt as if this 17-year-old was dragging his club - a team full of Libertadores winners, no less - to the title. And he did.


We need not discuss his ability on a football pitch - that is indisputable. His mentality and drive, however, is what impressed me most. Acting as the catalyst for Palmeiras’ resurgence and subsequent title win - at such a tender age - is the stuff of which generational talents are made.


Pano Scout


🥇Valentin Barco

🥈Federico Redondo

🥉André


Federico Redondo is a player who has stepped up and shown what he's capable of in 2023.


A young defensive midfielder with good physical attributes, long legs and the ability to not only progress the ball up the pitch as well as possessing the defensive abilities which will take him to the top.


Redondo is a player who reminds me of Nemanja Matic but one which has shown plenty of signs to surpass his ability.


Nathan Joyes


🥇Endrick

🥈Paulinho

🥉André


Not much separated my top second and third spot in all honesty, although Atletico Mineiro's Paulinho ranked slightly higher than André due to his magnificient achievements back in Brazil.


He left his home to move to Germany at just 18, and it seems as though Bayer Leverkusen didn't utilise him effectively. Returning with a point to prove, Paulinho showed how lethal he can be when let off the leash, scoring 20 domestic goals - none of which were scored from the spot.


His movement in the box, as well as ability to rise highest in the box and power home headers certainly caught the eye.


Paulinho proved the doubters wrong, but however well he did, it was almost impossible to get by Endrick in top spot. The 17-year-old is a special, special player.


Uruguayan Heroes


🥇André

🥈Paulinho

🥉Endrick


The 22-year-old has been the midfield anchor of a historic Fluminense side that has dazzled fans with some beautiful football in 2023.


A mix between tenacity and technical brilliance, André has arguably been the club's most important player in their successful quest for continental glory.


Cal Goodall

🥇André

🥈Paulinho

🥉Barco


Fernando Diniz’s Fluminense were one of, if not the most interesting team to watch in South America in 2023, crowning off their stellar campaign by lifting their first Copa Libertadores trophy.


At the heart of their success have been the performances of André, a 22-year-old defensive midfielder who, to my mind at least, has been the best player on the continent this past year.


A press-resistant first-phase specialist who is as capable carrying the ball up the pitch as he is winning it back from an opponent, the young Brazilian boasts a profile that the European elite will surely have an interest in.


Paulinho (23), Atlético Mineiro I think it’s fair to say that Paulinho’s 2018 transfer from Vasco da Gama to Bayer Leverkusen didn’t work out, so to see him shine for Atlético Mineiro under two-time Seleção manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, has been lovely.


31 goals and 7 assists in all competitions is an impressive return, and his late season form – nine goals and two assists in the last nine games of the Série A season – was crucial to his side’s ascent from 6th to 3rd place.


Whether a return to Europe is on the cards remains to be seen, but the gamble would surely be worth it if he maintained his 2023 levels.


Valentín Barco (19), Boca Juniors On the whole, Boca Juniors were not very fun to watch in 2023 and haven’t been for a while.


There was, however, one exception, in the form of a 19-year-old left-back-cum-midfielder called Valentín Barco, whose creativity, flair, and abundant energy provided Diego Martínez’s blue and gold boys with a much-needed spark in an otherwise disappointing season.


If the rumours are true, then Barco could well be playing under Roberto De Zerbi soon, a move that seems to be a perfect marriage; RDZ’s positional, rotation-heavy system should allow the Argentinian starboy to thrive in his happy place – the half-space.


Ben Mattinson

🥇André

🥈Paulinho

🥉Barco


Fluminense’s star midfielder was the leader and most important cog in Diniz’s system. André’s composure on the ball, ball-winning desire and carrying-power helped Fluminense to control and win games.


A Copa Libertadores title and despite Brazil having poor results, André shone in international games. He’s ready for Europe now.


Paulinho In 61 games in 2023 for Atlético Mineiro, Paulinho got a super impressive 31 goals and 8 assists. His redemption after an uninspiring spell at Bayer Leverkusen has been great to watch.


Playing in various roles across the front line or even behind the #9 as a #10 he’s influenced the game in many ways. But his composure in front of goal has gone up a level, playing with so much confidence.


Valentín Barco Playing at LB and influencing the game as much as Barco does isn’t normal, especially not at 19. Barco has been instrumental to any success Boca Juniors have had this season and filled in at various roles along the left flank all to a great level. The fact so many teams are after him speaks volumes.


The Final Results Third Place: Paulinho 🥉


A recording breaking year saw the Brazilian scoop third spot, just edging out Barco who finished in fourth place.



Second Place: Endrick 🥈


The Real Madrid bound striker will no doubt pick up many awards over his career, but despite carrying Palmeiras to the title, he could only secure second spot here at The Copa Club.


First Place: André 🥇


A resounding winner, the Fluminense midfielder continues to show how valued the number six role truly is. A move to Europe awaits for the Brazilian, who has a trophy ready and waiting to collect when he arrives.



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