Football Features

Brazil’s U20s World Cup-winning class of 2011 boasted a midfield that’s made nearly £300m

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:15, 10 May 2020

Brazil, whose footballing pedigree goes without saying, have won the Fifa U-20 World Cup on five occasions and in that regard, their record is bettered only by eternal rivals Argentina.

The first triumph came in 1983, which included future senior world champions in the guises of Bebeto and Dunga, and their most recent came in 2011 when they beat Portugal 3-2 in the final. Within the line-up for that game was midfield blend of flair and steel, with playmakers Oscar and Philippe Coutinho propped up by Casemiro and Fernando. Together those four would go on to amass around £280 million in combined transfer fees throughout their careers (so far), according to transfermarkt. Not to mention the fact the squad also possessed future Napoli star Allan.

So what became of the class of 2011? Find out below…

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Gabriel

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Current club: Lecce
  • Senior Brazil caps: 1

Gabriel, who spent time as Gianluigi Donnarumma’s deputy, barely featured for Milan after arriving in 2012 and subsequently enjoyed loan spells at Napoli, Cagliari and Empoli before moving to Serie B side Perugia. After one promising season in the Italian second tier, he now finds himself back in the top flight with Lecce.

Cesar 

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Current club: Flamengo
  • Senior Brazil caps: 0

Has taken in loan spells at Ponte Preta and Ferroviaria since winning the U-20 World Cup and only plays sporadically for Flamengo, making 57 senior appearances in nine seasons to date.

Aleks

  • Age: 29
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Current club: Avai
  • Senior Brazil caps: 0

Won the South American Youth Championship with Brazil in the same year. Remains with Avai and has also had loan spells with CRAC and Nacional-PR.

Danilo

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Defender
  • Current club: Juventus
  • Senior Brazil caps: 25

Danilo, who came through at Santos alongside Neymar, became only the ninth player to win both the Uefa Champions League, doing so with Real Madrid, and the South American Copa Libertadores in 2017. After a short spell with Manchester City, the full-back now turns out for Italian champions Juventus.

Bruno Uvini

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Defender
  • Current club: Al-Ittihad
  • Senior Brazil caps: 3

Formerly of Spurs and Napoli, the Brazilian centre-back can now be found plying his trade in Saudi Arabia with Al-Ittihad.

Juan Jesus

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Defender
  • Current club: Roma
  • Senior Brazil caps: 4

The former Inter Milan man is slowly establishing himself at Serie A rivals Roma, for whom he is fast approaching 100 appearances since joining in 2016.

Rodrigo Frauches

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Defender
  • Current club: Navy FC
  • Senior Brazil caps: 0

Struggled to make the grade with Flamengo and has since relocated to Thailand, where he now turns out for Navy.

Alex Sandro

  • Age: 29
  • Position: Defender
  • Current club: Juventus
  • Senior Brazil caps: 12

Juve’s all-action left-back has attracted the attention of a host of European teams since establishing himself in Turin, helping them reach the Champions League final in the 2016/17 season and lifting four consecutive Serie A titles.

Romário Leiria

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Defender
  • Current club: Veranopolis
  • Senior Brazil caps: 0

Hasn’t lived up to some of the more renowned talents in this squad and now finds himself in the Brazilian lower leagues with Veranopolis.

Gabriel Silva

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Defender
  • Current club: Saint-Étienne
  • Senior Brazil caps: 0

Saint-Étienne, in the summer of 2017, became Silva’s seventh different European team since joining Serie A outfit Udinese from boyhood club Palmeiras a year after winning the U20 World Cup. He remains with the French club to this day.

Rafael Galhardo

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Defender
  • Current club: Vasco da Gama
  • Senior Brazil caps: 0

Another nomadic member of Brazil’s winning team, Galhardo never made it happen for himself at Anderlecht, whom he joined in 2016, and has since represented Cruzeiro and presently Vasco da Gama.

Dudu

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Current club: Palmeiras
  • Senior Brazil caps: 3

After three productive seasons with Dynamo Kyiv, the Goiânia-born winger returned to Brazil, joining Grêmio on loan before settling down with Palmeiras. There, he is a regular presence, winning two Campeonato Brasileiro Série A titles during his time at the club so far.

Fernando

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Current club: Spartak Moscow
  • Senior Brazil caps: 8

Fernando enjoyed a brief international run between 2012 and 2013, but such is the competition in defensive midfield, he was not in Tite’s plans despite continuing to put in a shift for Russian champions Spartak Moscow. The 28-year-old is now on loan at Chinese side Beijing Guoan.

Casemiro

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Current club: Real Madrid
  • Senior Brazil caps: 46

One of the players to have usurped Fernando is Casemiro, who is now an integral fixture for Real Madrid and featured heavily in Zinedine Zidane’s trio of Champions League wins.

Philippe Coutinho

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Current club: Bayern Munich (on loan from Barcelona)
  • Senior Brazil caps: 61

Joined Barcelona from Liverpool for a whopping £145m in January 2018. While Liverpool have re-invested that money on the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson to become dominant in the Premier League, Coutinho has struggled at the Camp Nou and now finds himself on loan at Bayern Munich.

Back in 2011, Coutinho came up against one of his future Liverpool teammates and the one who would succeed him as the Merseysider’s MVP for a time.

Oscar

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Current club: Shanghai SIPG
  • Senior Brazil caps: 47

Oscar scored the hat-trick that won Brazil the the u20s World Cup final against Portugal. He looked on the verge of becoming a world-class playmaker but is now the poster boy for the Chinese Super League having joined Shanghai SIPG in 2017. Hasn’t added to his 47 senior caps for Brazil since 2015.

Allan

  • Age: 29
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Current club: Napoli
  • Senior Brazil caps: 9

An important member of Napoli’s energetic midfield, Allan has forged a reputation as one of Europe’s most fearsome holding players in recent years. Finally got his senior Brazil debut in 2018 and now has nine caps to his name.

Alan Patrick

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Current club: Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Senior Brazil caps: 0

After breaking through at Santos, the native of Catanduva seemingly found a new home at Shakhtar Donetsk but has been in and out of their first-team since joining in 2011. That said, he still has five Ukrainian Premier League titles to his name.

Willian José

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Striker
  • Current club: Real Sociedad
  • Senior Brazil caps: 0

The native of Porto Calvo briefly spent time on loan at Real Madrid, making one league appearance in May 2014, before finding his present home at Real Sociedad, where he’s registered 54 goals across 138 matches to date.

Henrique

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Striker
  • Current club: Goias
  • Senior Brazil caps: 0

Henrique actually won the tournament’s Golden Ball award and  finished the tournament as joint-top-scorer on five goals (an honour he shared with a young Alexandre Lacazette and Spain’s Alvaro Vazquez).

The much-travelled striker recently joined Goias having spent time with Brazilian giants Gremio, Botafogo and São Paulo, as well as a whole host of loan spells around South America and Europe.

Negueba

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Forward
  • Current club: Gyeongnam FC
  • Senior Brazil caps: 0

The former Flamengo academy graduate joined K-League 1 outfit Gyeongnam FC in 2018 and remains there to this day.

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