Brazil have been at their scintillating best during this summer’s Copa America, smashing in goals left, right and centre en-route to setting up a quarter-final clash with Paraguay.
One player who has emerged from the Selecao shadows is exciting forward Everton Soares, who has two goals and an assist to his name.
The 23-year-old has been touted as a potential Manchester City target for a number of months, and his performances will do little to dampen speculation of a move to the Etihad.
Despite this, Everton isn’t well known across Europe – so 90min is here to right that wrong with five things to know about him…
He’s Affectionately Nicknamed After a Cartoon Character
Although not unheard of for South American footballers to be given nicknames, it is still something that is rather novel for the rest of us.
Looking like a character from a Brazilian comic book, supporters affectionately chant ‘Little Onion’ to him. The character in question is called ‘Cebolinha’ from the comics ‘Monica’s Gang’. Cebolinha has a small tuft of hair on his head, which is presumably where the comparisons come from, looking a bit like the bottom of an onion.
As affectionate as the name ‘Little Onion’ is, in a footballing sense it doesn’t quite compare to his compatriot Hulk.
He is Already a Copa Libertadores Winner
The Gremio man has already won a major continental trophy, having lifted the South American version of the Champions League in 2017.
Last year’s clash between River Plate and Boca Juniors gave us an insight into how big the competition is, so a winner’s medal on Everton’s résumé is pretty tasty indeed – even though he didn’t play a huge part in Gremio’s success that year.
The competition resumes in July with Gremio through to this season’s last 16, so there’s every chance that Everton can help his side push on for a second tournament win in three seasons.
Gremio’s President Considers Him ‘One of the Best Players in South America’
Gremio’s club president Romildo Bolzan has previously said Everton is “one of the best players in South America, and maybe even the world. He is exceptional”.
Although a player at his own club, which may elicit some bias, this is high praise indeed. Most have not seen much of the Brazilian until this year’s Copa America, but it is clear that he is held in high regard back home.
The praise doesn’t stop there either – Brazil teammate Filipe Luis added after the win over Peru recently that: “I can easily see him playing in Europe, he’s ready for it.”
So Ready Perhaps That Manchester City Are Keen on Him
You must be doing something right if Pep Guardiola and Manchester City want you, right? After all, the Citizens have an abundance of quality in their squad – and in Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez, they have two of the best wingers in the Premier League fighting it out for a starting spot in the team.
A move to the Etihad is entirely within the realms of possibility – remember current City striker Gabriel Jesus made the very same leap from Brazil back in 2017 – months after agreeing to join from Palmeiras.
Neighbourhood rivals Manchester United have also been credited with interest in signing Everton, but City do remain clear favourites to snap him up. Champions League football, back-to-back Premier League title wins and the chance to work under Guardiola are just a few reasons why he might consider moving to the blue half of Manchester at this particular point in his career.
He is Currently Filling Neymar’s Boots
Now, no one expects this to be permanent, however, Everton is currently occupying the left-wing position vacated by the injured Neymar. And he’s doing a pretty good job so far.
Showing the same degree of pace, skill and impetus that we expect to see from the PSG man, Everton is catching the eye – cutting in on his right foot to devastating effect.
He’s even seen off competition from Ajax winger David Neres – who is wanted by a string of European giants and was widely tipped to replace Neymar in the side – and looks to have more than secured his place for the remainder of the Copa America.