Reinier Jesus set to rule the world


From Ronaldo to Robinho to Kaka and now Reinier Jesus. Real Madrid’s new £26m signing is the latest Brazilian forward to arrive at the Bernabeu with high expectations.The 19-year-old, who has signed a six-year-deal, has joined the La Liga side from Flamengo and links up with fellow teenage Brazilian stars Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo at the club.

Is he worth the money and can he follow in the footsteps of his illustrious compatriots?

The next Kaka?

Reinier is one of the most promising midfielders of his generation and his signing for Real came just two days after he turned 18.

The attacking midfielder is the son of Mauro Brasilia, a legend of Brazilian futsal, and he is currently taking part in the Olympics qualifying tournament before he moves to Spain.Brazil’s under-23 staff allowed him to go to Madrid to sort his transfer while the rest of the team was already training in Colombia.

At 17, he did not disappoint when he was drafted into Flamengo’s starting XI on 31 July, 2019 and he played 14 league games and scored six goals in a season in which the Rio de Janeiro club won the Brazilian league.

He was an unused substitute during Flamengo’s dramatic Copa Libertadores triumph against River Plate in November. He was also on the bench as his side lost to Liverpool in the final of the Club World Cup in Qatar in December.

Real say his “major strengths lie in his technical ability and creative talent on the ball”.Reinier has also captained his country at under-17 level and his style of play has led to comparisons with Kaka, a Champions League winner with Milan and the last Brazilian player to win the Ballon d’Or in 2007.

Real bought Kaka in 2009 but the transfer did not work out. Reinier will be hoping for much better.He is the third young Brazilian to be signed by Real in the last two years, with Vinicius Junior, 19, also from Flamengo, joining in 2018 and Rodrygo, 19, signing from Santos in 2019.

Back in 2002, Real Madrid signed the Brazilian Ronaldo from Inter Milan.Aged 25, Ronaldo was at his peak. It was part of their Galactico era – Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham were regulars in the team – and he scored 83 goals in 127 games.

Injury and weight problems blighted the end of his time at the Bernabeu, but it was still a very successful signing – not least the iconic hat-trick he scored against Manchester United in the 2003 Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford.

Since then, Madrid have signed five Brazilian forwards, looking for another star who can terrify defences across Europe – but it is yet to really work.The first was Robinho.

A number of clubs across Europe had chased him after some stunning performances for Santos as a teenager, but it was Madrid who locked down his signature after meeting a buy-out clause in July 2005 and he scored 35 goals in 137 games for the club.

Initially he was ignored by Fabio Capello, but briefly thrived after Capello’s sacking – only to get badly injured and struggle to find form again. He caused great excitement when Manchester City – flush with cash after their takeover by Abu Dhabi United investment company – snapped him up in 2008, but it would turn out he was already past his peak.

Julio Baptista arrived as a prolific goalscorer from Sevilla in 2005, but his struggles and return of 13 goals in 77 games saw him loaned to Arsenal in the summer of 2006.

Real then signed what seemed to be a proven talent in Kaka in 2009.But he never found that same form for Madrid, troubled by a long-standing knee injury. After four years on and off the treatment table, he returned briefly to Milan before heading to the MLS.

In 2018, Flamengo – also Reinier’s previous club – were then raided by Madrid as they moved for Vinicius Junior.They paid £38.7m for him – he had such potential that Flamengo had tied him to a lucrative long-term deal the day after he had made his debut for them – and became the first player for Madrid born in the 21st Century.

Now 18 months into his time at the Bernabeu, he has played 31 games in La Liga – but only scored three times, a ratio that has not impressed.

And even though he is still only 19, he has been outshone by an even younger Brazilian in Rodrygo, a winger signed from Santos in 2019 who scored his first goal a minute into his Real debut in September last year.