The failure of pragmatic football who proposed by Carlos Dunga in World Cup 2010, made the public demanding Jogo Bonito return, at once regeneration for Brazil national football team. Then, Mano Menezes, who’s known for his attacking football idea appointed by Brazilian FA in 2010. He had no other tasks except for carrying public demand.
Coincidentally, he supported by plenty of potential young players Brazil had at the time. They were headed to London 2012 to win the gold medals and entertaining the world with an attacking football. The hype was amongst them after all.
A mission that nearly clinched by Seleção with finishing as runner-up below Mexico. However, the silver medals in 2012 weren’t enough. Menezes sacked and been criticism target of the Brazilian public. He deemed as fail manager and wasting the beast talented young players those Selecao had at the time.
In the Brazil squad for Olympics 2012 names like Neymar Jr., Alexander Pato, Oscar, Paulo Ganso, Lucas Moura, Sandro, Leandro Damião, Rafael, Danilo, Alex Sandro, Neto, Gabriel, or Juan Jesus were touted as prominent talents. However, is it true if they are great as like as had been expected? For sure, when the most headliner talent at the time, Neymar does well and living up his potential in the football world. Where are they now the others?
Evidently, most of the Brazilian young talents in Olympics 2012 have failed to exceed the expectations. Perhaps, only Neymar (PSG), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Danilo (Manchester City) or Lucas Moura (Tottenham) who prevails in the top football sphere nowadays.
Let me start it from playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso. Besides Neymar, he was also a talented youngster who carried out glorious Santos FC peak in 2010-2012. However, post-Olympics 2012 event, Ganso performances not so improved well when moved to Sao Paulo. Ganso second chance to establish a career in the top flight with Sevilla in 2016 also ended up in vain. Now, he is playing for a small side in France, Amiens SC.
Chelsea splashed around 20 million pounds in summer 2012 for Oscar dos Santos Emboaba. Alongside other newcomers such as Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta, he used to rejuvenated The Blues squad after winning the Champions League season 2011-12. Indeed, Oscar immediately clicked in English football. He became a mainstay in Chelsea’s attacking midfielder position for a while.
Former Internacional player also delivered Chelsea several titles such as two Premier League and one Europa League. However, when Antonio Conte took charge for 2016-17, he was no longer included in the team plan. Conte’s 3-4-3 didn’t required center attacking midfielder, though. Then in December 2016, surprisedly Oscar signed for Chinese club, Shanghai SIPG at price 60 millions pounds. His skills and quality as a footballer are never been doubted. However, after that move, practically Oscar career has gone from the top flight radar.
The injury will be always the enemy of any footballer. Alexander Pato career undoubtedly has been ruined by injuries. Milan valued young striker Pato (aged 17) with 24 million euros in summer 2007. Pretty high price for a teenager, but to be honest it was a good bargain for a young talented player such as Pato at the time.
Pato seemed to be the Rossoneri’s future when he managed good runs in Italy. 2008/09 season it was his best form in Milan. However, several injuries downgrading his career. Furthermore, injuries cause his inconsistent performances as well, and it was the reason why Pato never gets called up to the World Cup. Mostly from 2011 until 2013, Pato did very average performances in Milan. After the series of nomadic moves, now a precious talented footballer like Pato has been drained in Tianjin Quanjin.
Rafael Da Silva, former Manchester United potential right-back has a similar story like his Olympics 2012 teammates. He deemed too offensive as a defender and indeed defensive skills are Rafael natural handicap. Rafael then joined Olympique Lyon in 2015, even though he got enough time as the first choice under Sir Alex Ferguson tenure.
A more miserable story suffered Olympics 2012 top-scorer, Leandro Damião. Brazilian legend, Ronaldo Lima once appreciated his talent. He described Damião as a striker with tall, strong and threat in the air. Sounds like a European and modern-type striker.
Thus, his performances with Internacional and Olympics 2012 made several big clubs interested. He was very close to Napoli in 2013 then, however, Partenopei choose Higuain instead of him. Unfortunately, Damião has had an uncertain career since his best performances in Olympics 2012.
Neto and Juan Jesus actually are undergoing not bad careers either. However, they are stagnated. Neto is Valencia number one goalkeeper in this bad season for them, while Jesus doesn’t feature regularly in the starting line-up for AS Roma.
Other prominent 2012 squad were Sandro Raniere, ex-Tottenham tenacious midfielder, defensive midfielder Romulo and goalkeeper Gabriel. Currently, Sandro stuck in small Italian side Genoa when reaching age 29, Romulo returns to Brazil after several seasons undeveloped in Russia (Spartak Moscow), while Gabriel sinks in Serie B with Perugia after released by Milan.
For Brazilian squad in Olympics 2012, several boys like Leandro Damião, Ganso or Rafael are too hyped talents. Many different reasons behind their careers declined. Whether the players can’t live up the expectation like Ganso or Damião or can’t improved his playing capacities (Rafael).
Then, in the different causes, the exceptional talents such as Pato or Oscar dos Santos has been truly wasted. The series of injuries had been downgrading Alexander Pato career, while Oscar has “sacrificing” career by self-willingness to gone from radar.
Brazil has successful histories in the football world. Five World Cup, eight Copa America, four Confederations Cup and one Olympics gold medal proved how astonishing they are. The lots of talented footballers were the reasons why Brazil achieved those titles.
Brazil national team football are never lacked exceptional resources. However, sometimes not all Brazilian incredible talents succeeded in the tournament and their potential fulfill the expectations. Brazilian talented squad in Olympics 2012 was the straight example.
Fate has determined them in history. One, two or three will be very successful, several enough being averages and no less of them will turn out to be mediocre players in the end.
Writer: Haris Chaebar
Photo sources: si.com and futboltriangle.wordpress.com