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 By Tim Vickery

The contrasting fortunes of Brazil's Gabriel Barbosa and Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Barbosa came off the bench to score his first Serie A goal and seal three points for Inter at Bologna.
Pep Guardiola is unsure if Gabriel Jesus will return for Man City this season, expecting a two or three month recovery.

Less than six months ago, when he prepared for his first game as Brazil coach, Tite had a big decision to make.

He was taking over a team under pressure. Brazil were down in sixth place in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualification table, outside the slots that guaranteed a spot at Russia 2018.

The fixtures ahead looked tricky, starting with a visit to the altitude of Quito to take on Ecuador, who were level on points with leaders Uruguay. In such daunting circumstances, who should take the role of centre-forward,...

 By Tim Vickery

Brazil's under-20 side show limitations as World Cup hopes end

Lyanco shows his disappointment after a 0-0 draw with Colombia ended Brazil's U-20 World Cup hopes.

For the second time in three competitions, Brazil have failed to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which this year will be held in South Korea in May.

South America has four slots. Brazil managed to finish fifth in the South American Youth Football Championship, which came to a conclusion in Ecuador on Saturday. And Brazil's loss was Argentina's gain. When the two old rivals met on Wednesday, it seemed clear that one or the other would miss out.

With some 10 seconds to go before the end of the...

 By Tim Vickery

Brazil, Argentina fight for one U-20 World Cup spot after uneven showing

Brazil and Argentina drew to leave them reliant on other results if they're to reach the U-20 World Cup.

So it is down to the big two as the South American Under-20 Championships moves towards Saturday's final round. Uruguay have qualified for this year's U-20 World Cup, scheduled for South Korea at the end of May. Hosts Ecuador and Venezuela are virtually assured of joining them, leaving one slot available for either Brazil or Argentina.

That is the consequence of Wednesday's 2-2 draw between the old rivals. It must have been one of the poorest games played at any level between these continent's...

 By Tim Vickery

Manchester City have a star in Gabriel Jesus, the kid who keeps getting better

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner recaps Man City's 2-1 victory over Swansea City and the stunning performance of young Gabriel Jesus.
ESPN FC's Paul Mariner recaps Man City's 2-1 victory over Swansea City and the stunning performance of young Gabriel Jesus.

From the moment he came on a substitute against Tottenham two weeks ago, Gabriel Jesus has looked at home in a Manchester City shirt. In that debut, he had just 10 minutes to make an impact: he ran to the left bye-line and put one dangerous ball across the face of the goal, sent a looping header just over the bar and put the ball into the net only to have the goal disallowed for offside.

The secret behind his instant success was all there in that cameo: he had given an example of the speed of...

 By Tim Vickery

Neymar struggles at Barcelona down to demanding schedule with Brazil

Neymar is coming in for some criticism at Barcelona. The numbers are not on his side in this, his fourth season with the Catalan giants.

In 2013-14, his debut campaign, he played 41 games, with 15 goals and 11 assists. In the subsequent two seasons he fully justified all of the hype that had surrounded him. In 2014-15 he played 51 games, with 39 goals and seven assists; followed by 49 games with 31 goals and 20 assists last time out.

Was he perched on the shoulder of Lionel Messi, ready to become...

 By Tim Vickery

What's gone wrong for Lucas Silva, once Brazil's most promising midfield prospect?

Lucas Silva has long established himself as one of the best midfielders in Brazil but that success hasn't translated abroad.

Buried in the hurried details of the transfer window was a little defeat for Brazilian football -- the return of Lucas Silva to Cruzeiro.

Two years ago Real Madrid signed him on a long-term contract. He was an important player in the Cruzeiro side that won the Brazilian title in both 2013 and especially 2014. But his significance went far beyond silverware. What made Silva particularly interesting was his playing characteristics. He represents a type of player that Brazil have found very hard...