FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil wonder kid Alan in no hurry to move to Europe

Time & Us
Last Updated: October 17, 2017 at 1:27 am

Kochi: Brazil U-17 and Palmeiras starlet Alan de Souza Guimaraes is being widely regarded as one of the brightest footballing talents. The attacking midfielder played a key role in the wins over Spain and North Korea in the FIFA U-17 World Cup group stage, helping them qualify for the Round of 16.
He was left out of the final group game against Niger as a precautionary measure, with him facing the possibility of a one-game suspension had he received a yellow card in that game.
The highly skilful youngster had earlier this year attracted interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid as per reports in Spanish media outlets AS and Marca among others, with the club reportedly keen on signing him in 2018.
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Alan’s agent Juan Figer was also seen meeting Real Madrid club president Florentino Perez and CEO Jose Angel Sanchez in March, leading to speculation that Alan would join compatriot Vinicius Junior in moving to the Spanish capital in 2018.
Hindustan Times asked Alan about the reports linking him to Real Madrid, after his team’s practice session at the Maharajas College Ground here.
“I am happy to hear something about this, but I don’t think Palmeiras have received any offer till this point. For me, first of all, I prefer to make my history at Palmeiras and then I decide where I want to play in future,” he responded.
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With Alan currently 17, he is not yet eligible for a move to Europe. Earlier, interest from Inter Milan had prompted Palmeiras to put a 50 million buy-out clause in Alan’s contract, according to media reports.
While it remains to be seen whether Real Madrid’s reported interest translates into a concrete offer next summer, the Santiago Bernabeu hierarchy may not be entirely happy to know the player Alan idolises.
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“(Andres) Iniesta from Barcelona. I like to watch videos about him even before matches. He is an inspiration for me,” Alan said.
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The diminutive No. 10 had started off in a defensive midfield role. That changed when he moved to Palmeiras.
“When I arrived at Palmeiras, they realised that I was not that strong. They have a few rules for the defensive midfield role, and usually prefer players who are tall and strong. Since I am good in attack, they decided to put me in an attacking midfield role,” he revealed.
Since then, there has been no looking back. The next objective, he says, is to break into the senior side at his club.
“If I have a good tournament, it should help me at my club. I’m still at the U-17, so if I do well here, it will help me reach the senior team,” he explained.
Having won all their three games to finish top of Group D, Brazil will next face Honduras in the Round of 16 here.
“We have had some great games. Now we have to rest well and prepare for this game. The coach told us not to be too euphoric and to keep our feet on the ground. It is important for us to understand that,” Alan said.
The pressure of playing for a Brazil national team, even at the U-17 level, is huge. However, it is something that Alan believes is good for the players.