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Friday, March 31, 2023

Liverpool can find Neymar 2.0 in Leonardo

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Recent reports have seen Liverpool linked with a move for Santos starlet Marcos Leonardo, with the Brazilian striker making waves following his impressive form of late in his homeland.

The 19-year-old, who reportedly has a release clause of around €60m (£50m), has seemingly been on the radar of clubs in Europe over the past few years after catching the eye due to his sparkling form at youth level, having reported netted more than 100 goals after joining his current club as an 11-year-old.

The teenager has begun to translate that form over to senior level, having scored 15 goals and provided five assists in all competitions so far this season, taking his total haul to 28 goals and six assists in 102 games for the club – a respectable return for a player so young.

Likened to compatriot Romario for his lethal goalscoring touch, the 5 foot 9 menace has also been described as the “the greatest jewel of the Santos academy” by his former boss Jesualdo Ferreira, with Reds manager Jurgen Klopp seemingly set to have a real explosive talent on his hands if a deal can be struck.

Also labelled “the most exciting striker of his generation” by Andre Noruega a few years ago, all the signs point to the £6.3m-rated gem becoming a real standout figure in the game in the coming years, with a move to Europe likely to only enhance his already burgeoning reputation.

A prodigious, rare Brazilian talent coming out of Santos can only evoke memories of current Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar, with Klopp and co potentially set to have an equally as gifted asset on their hands if they can land Leonardo.

The second-highest scorer in Brazil’s history with 74 goals in 118 caps, Neymar has undoubtedly been one of the finest talents in world football over the last decade or so, exploding onto the scene as a teenager with Santos before rubberstamping his quality during a trophy-laden spell at Barcelona.

While his subsequent £200m move to the Parcs des Princes in 2017 has at times been blighted by accusations of disinterest as well as injury occurrences, the 30-year-old still boasts an impressive record for the Ligue 1 champions, with 102 goals and 60 assists in just 142 games across all fronts.

His club career tally now stands at a truly staggering 277 goals and 171 assists in 465 games, with his recent delightful free-kick in the Trophee des Champions victory over Nantes seemingly indicating that he still has plenty more to give in the years to come.

Those on Merseyside will be hoping that, if he comes to Anfield, young Leonardo can replicate the success that his fellow Brazilian has enjoyed in Europe since arriving at Camp Nou nine years ago, with plenty of signs that he has the talent to make just as devastating an impact as the PSG star.


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