The man who scored the most goals in World Cup history has no doubt about this: there is a player who is worthy of Brazil’s number 9 shirt when they host the World Cup in 2014. “Not only he is a great finisher, but he can also score headers, which I couldn’t,” said Ronaldo in a recent interview. Despite the injuries he suffered last year, expectations are rising for 23-year-old Internacional striker, Leandro Damião. Liverpool seem to be very interested acquiring his services.
Born in São Paulo, he is no Gabriel Batistuta, but his nickname reminds that of the powerful Argentine: Damigol. His style is different, though. Damião has something of the Zlatan Ibrahimovic about him: skilled despite being so tall (1.89 m). He is not as strong as Batistuta and clearly wastes more opportunities than the former Fiorentina and AS Roma icon, but the chances he did take made him the best striker in Brazil in 2011 and put him as the top scorer of the London 2012, with 6 goals.
He has played for Internacional since 2009. People there take him as the successor of Alexandre Pato, who had barely started playing professionally when AC Milan took him to Italy. Damião had a very long adapting period because at the age of 18 he had skipped all youth divisions to play for a tiny wage at a series of small clubs; he preferred playing for food stamps to having a shot at big clubs who turned their noses at him previously.
Damião is a sort of lucky charm for his fans. In 2010, only a few months after becoming a professional footballer, he stepped into the Libertadores Cup final and scored for Internacional against Mexicans of Chivas Guadalajara. But his flair goes much farther: he is a master of a dribble named “lambreta”, which you can see here.
It will probably take him at least 6 months to be fully fit, so don’t expect Damião to come and do great in the first couple of months. But if there is one player Liverpool should take from Brazilian football now for the 2013-2014 season, he is the one they want.