Across Europe, fans are beginning to know the name Joao Gomes.
The 21-year-old Flamengo midfielder is shining in his homeland and has attracted interest from some of the game’s top sides, with Liverpool and Real Madrid keeping a close eye on his development.
Here’s all you need to know about him.
A product of the Flamengo youth academy, Gomes made his senior debut in November 2020, playing the full 90 minutes in a 4-1 defeat to Sao Paulo.
He was in-and-out of the starting lineup for the 2021 campaign, but began 2022 as a starter and he has not looked back since, cementing his place as one of the team’s top performers while also attracting praise as one of Brazil’s most intriguing young prospects.
While typically known for their flair, Gomes is a more-reserved talent. Playing at the base of midfield, he has drawn comparisons to Fabinho for his ability to recover possession with ruthless efficiency. At the time of writing, he averages the second-most tackles per 90 minutes in the Brazilian top flight.
That being said, he is not just a defensive anchor. Gomes enjoys getting forward and flashes an impressive ability to carry the ball through the midfield, turning defence into attack with relative ease.
A common criticism of Gomes is his lack of product in the final third. He failed to score in any of his first 50 Serie A games and recorded just two assists across that time as well.
According to Gomes himself, a lot of this is down to his positioning on the pitch, which obviously doesn’t lend itself to doing too much in attack.
“I hear a lot that I don’t know how to create,” he told FlaTV. “These days, I’m stealing more balls than I’m setting up, but I still know how to set up. I know how to make a key pass and get assists.”
Links to the Premier League are nothing knew for Gomes, who was recently asked whether he would be interested in a move to England – specifically with Liverpool.
“Liverpool are a team I’d play for,” he said. “I have the greatest desire to play. Playing in the Champions League is my biggest dream in football.”
Clearly aware of the interest in their young starlet, Flamengo acted quickly to tie Gomes down to a new long-term contract, securing his signature until 2027.
Should any suitor wish to bid for Gomes, Flamengo now have the power to demand as much money as possible.
If Gomes’ name rings a bell but you can’t quite figure out why, it might be because of an awkward photo that went viral in November 2021.
During a game, an evidently frustrated Gomes responded to conceding a goal by pulling his shorts up and screaming into the heavens… not realising that he shorts had gone a little too high.
The wardrobe malfunction quickly blew up on Twitter and media outlets all across the globe were reporting on the awkward slip-up.
His career might only be in its infancy, but Gomes has already picked up a super fan in the shape of 76-year-old Seu Cardoso.
“I love his style of play,” Cardoso told SporTV. “He honours the shirt, he plays with love for the shirt. I don’t miss a Joao Gomes game. I want to watch him wherever he goes.”
Watching Gomes might become a pretty expensive hobby in the near future.