Linked with Manchester United, Everton Ribeiro’s strange move to the Middle East

Brazilian football has offered up some of the most scintillating playmakers in the history of the game over the years, with the current Seleção squad loaded with attacking midfielders of substantial quality.

As such, competition for places in Dunga’s national set-up is fierce, despite the underwhelming nature of the South American nation’s exit from the World Cup on home soil last summer.

In the latest Brazil squad to face France and Chile in international friendlies there are some notable absentees, but one man that risks being overlooked completely is Everton Ribeiro.

The 25-year-old versatile midfielder is something of a late bloomer, but was being campaigned in some corners as a man that could well be an integral feature in the Brazil team heeding into the future following impressive club form.

A product of the Corinthians youth academy, Ribeiro was not given a chance to shine at the Sao Paulo-based outfit and needed to spend a season at Coritiba to break into the public consciousness.

A switch to Cruzeiro in 2013 proved the making of the skilful playmaker, with Ribeiro the undoubted star of the Raposa’s championship winning team last year. He was also named as the Brasileiro’s player of the season for two campaigns running.

With sparkling form in Belo Horizonte, talk of inclusion in the Brazilian national squad for the World Cup started to gather pace in local media, with many campaigning Ribeiro’s case.

The playmaker was eventually unfortunate to be overlooked by Luiz Felipe Scolari, who paid the price for sticking with a group of more experienced players.

Transfer rumours linking Ribeiro with a move to Manchester United specifically also started to gather pace, with other major European clubs such as AC Milan mentioned as potential suitors.

With Dunga bringing the gifted technician into the national set-up following the World Cup, the stage was set for Ribeiro to make the next step in his career and thrive as so many of his countrymen have done before him in European football.

But the move never came.

Everton RibeiroWith prospective transfers failing to materialise in a number of transfer windows, Ribeiro ended his state of limbo by making the odd move to Dubai-based side Al-Ahli at the end of January.

After making the switch to the Middle East, the Brazilian revealed that both Milan and United had made attempts to sign him, but the offers on the table were not sizeable enough to convince Cruzeiro.

The Brasileiro outfit have clearly yielded to the highest bidder, while the playmaker will certainly receive a bumper payday in the United Arab Emirates too.

Despite this lucrative financial incentive, dreams of playing at Old Trafford or Stadio San Siro have had to be put on hold, while the 25-year-old has opted to move to a league of lesser standing than the one in his homeland.

Given his age, Ribeiro is in his prime and ready to excel; unfortunately it could well be a case of out of sight, out of mind for the Arujá-born star.

The playmaker stated that he spoke with Dunga ahead of agreeing terms with Al Ahli and his national place would not be compromised by a move to the Middle East.

But this clearly is not the case given that he has been omitted from the latest gathering of the Brazil squad.

It is a real shame that Ribeiro has not signed for a club with the stature that his ability deserves, while the risk that his talent will go to waste is one that is real.

Patience and potentially more shrewd negotiating by Cruzeiro could well have resulted in a different outcome, but for the time being it appears that this Brazilian star has take a step sideways at a critical point in his career.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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