In the past few weeks, Brazilian teams have announced some big signings. São Paulo has brought Spanish veteran Juanfran, the former Atletico Madrid player, and Dani Alves, perhaps the best right-back in history. Flamengo, on the other hand, announced left-back Filipe Luís, defender Rafinha from FC Bayern, and is even negotiating a shocking move with Italian striker Mario Balotelli. Are these moves signalling a change in Brazilian football? Perhaps it's time for the wealthy European clubs to start and worry.
Undoubtedly, these are players who still had a market in big European leagues; but eventually, chose to come back home to Brazil. They are veterans who are arguably past their prime; however, their signings show that Brazilian football can attract players with history, quality, experience and can even help in the marketing of local teams. After the 2014 World Cup disappointment, with some Brasileirão players in the national team squad, many have argued that the local league needed changes to improve and thus help the national team.
These changes have been happening exceptionally slowly, but it is now satisfying to see they are occurring on a grander scale. We have seen teams like Flamengo and Palmeiras having a significant financial advantage over the others, and great coaches are emerging in the country, such as Odair Hellmann and Rogério Ceni. Now, with these signings, the feeling is there is still much to be explored in developing local Brazilian football.
Brazil is arguably one of the countries that produce the most talented players in the world. However, many of them end up leaving early and young to play in major leagues, as they pay better salaries and provide more exposure. The trend of attracting big names that have already established themselves in Europe, such as Dani Alves, can influence these young players to continue and play in the country for longer, increasing the quality of the local league and bringing in more investments. In the future, these players and league can have a crucial impact on local Brazilians, who might look for a better connection with their teams and footballers.
Dani Alves' arrival to São Paulo is perhaps the most significant signing of the century in Brazil. He has played in teams like Barcelona and Juventus and had offers from giant clubs in Europe, such as Inter Milan.
Despite what many expected, he signed for a Brazilian team, even though he was still performing at a high level, has won the Copa America with the Seleção and won the player of the tournament award. The country has not had a player of this status for a long time. Whether his signing will prove to be successful, we still don't know. However, it is incredibly significant and, in the long run, can bring major changes in a competition that is being underestimated for years.
Many believe that a country that produces talents like Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Evérton need to have a better league than Brazil currently has. It is necessary to have more ambition, to attempt to keep great players and to bring others that add more value to the championship.
With these recent signings, we may be able to see a stronger league in the future, where the big players choose to stay in the country instead of going to Europe because they know it's worth it. That will take time and probably the championship will never return to the level it produced in the 1980s and 1990s. However, the standard can rise a lot.
Brazilian football in recent years has seemed dormant, but now it is waking up.