Forgotten Brazil wonderkids – Kerlon to star who romped with chairman’s daughter

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There are three certainties in life. Death, taxes and 30 second clips of Brazilian wonderkids doing outrageous things on YouTube.

The proliferation of football content has meant such prodigious young talents are now stars before they can say 'rabona', but that doesn't stop the rest of us getting excited over them like a kid at Christmas.

Let's face it, there's no greater thrill than your club signing a South American teenager who has his own highlights reel, particularly when they possess some of that trademark Brazilian flair.

However, not all of them live up to their lofty reputation and some end up being much more carni-fail than carnival, as Daily Star Sport discover.


Part human, part seal, Kerlon earned millions of fans around the world after videos of him dribbling while balancing the ball on his head were posted on YouTube.

All football fans wanted him at their club, and while some resorted to signing the Cruzeiro man on Football Manager, it was Chievo who brought him to Europe.

Unfortunately, injuries curtailed his time with the Italian minnows, and after a loan spell at Ajax and a move to Japan, he returned to Brazil in 2011.

After spending three months without a club in 2017, Kerlon officially announced his retirement. His career is one the streets will never forget.


Who's your all-time favourite Brazilian wonderkid? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Let's face it, no-one has a better name on this list than Vampeta. He initially impressed upon arriving in Europe with PSV, but soon returned to Brazil in 1998.

From there, he joined Inter Milan, but after making just a single appearance, the midfielder once again returned to his homeland in a deal which saw a certain Adriano go the other way.

While Vampeta would go on to have a nomadic career in the Middle East and Brazil, Adriano became one of the best forwards of the 2000s.

Alexandre Pato

Alexandre Pato was once considered one of football's hottest prospects, particularly during his time at AC Milan. He had an eye for the ladies too.

Shortly after winning the Scudetto with the San Siro club, Pato entered into a relationship with the daughter of former president Silvio Berlusconi.

However, their courtship wouldn't last and the Brazilian left the club for Corinthians in 2013. After unsuccessful spells with Chelsea, Villarreal and Sao Paulo, the forward is now plying his trade in MLS with Orlando City.


The start of Ganso's career had parallels with that of Neymar, with both men wowing viewers around the world with tricks and skills on YouTube.

Both men were battling for the limelight – and a move to Europe. It was a race that Neymar ultimately won, moving first to Barcelona and then to PSG.

His former team-mate got his break with Sevilla in 2016, but after three underwhelming seasons in Europe, he returned to Brazil with Fluminense.


Denilson arrived at Arsenal from Sao Paulo in 2006 with the hype train in full flow. Unfortunately it wasn't to be for the youngster, who never truly adapted to the demands of the Premier League.

He made over 150 appearances for the Gunners before returning to Sao Paolo in 2015. Later spells followed in the Middle East and Malta with Sliema Wanderers.


When Oscar signed for Chelsea in 2012, he was given the No.11 shirt, which had belonged to club legend Didier Drogba. It's fair to say the latter left more of a mark on Stamford Bridge than the former.

Despite impressing for large periods in west London and helping the Blues win two Premier League titles, the diminutive playmaker shocked fans by leaving for Chinese big spenders Shanghai SIPG in 2017.

The salary in the Far East likely played a big part in the move, with estimates that he will have earned £210.9million in wages by the time his contract expires in 2024.


Named after rock and roll legends Keith Richards and Jim Morrison, it's fair to say Keirrison never quite hit the high notes during his career.

Barcelona signed the €14million man against Pep Guardiola's wishes in 2009.

Unsurprisingly the forward never played a game for the Catalan club and was loaned out five times before being sent back to Brazil with Coritiba in 2014.


Okay, he's not a forgotten wonderkid, but how could we exclude Kleberson from this list? The World Cup winner was signed by Manchester United in 2003, the same summer Cristiano Ronaldo made the switch from Portugal.

While CR7 went on to conquer the world, Kleberson had spells with Besiktas, Flamengo, Indy Eleven and Fort Lauderdale Strikers before hanging up his boots in 2016. Premier League legend.

Gabriel Barbosa

When Gabriel Barbosa, otherwise known as Gabigoal, joined Inter Milan from Santos in 2016, big things were expected. He did not meet those expectations, well, not in Italy at least.

The Brazilian forward scored a solitary goal in nine appearances, before heading back to Brazil where he has carved out the career he perhaps should have had in Europe. Gabigoal now is plying his trade successfully with Flamengo


Real Madrid were faced with a huge decision in 2008. Sign a promising youngster by the name of Alipio back in 2008, or go for highly-rated Vasco da Gama academy star Philippe Coutinho.

No prizes for guessing what happened next. Although Coutinho's current plight is well known, at least he's doing better than Alipio, who these days is knocking around in the Brazilian third-tier.


Bayern Munich beat off competition from a host of Europe's biggest clubs to land Breno in 2009, a 6ft 2in centre-half from Sao Paulo.

They probably ended up wishing they hadn't. Following a poor couple of seasons, he was arrested on 'suspicion of aggravated arson', and subsequently sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

He later rejoined Sao Paolo before finishing his career with Vasco de Gama.

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