• All three of Brazil’s goals against Honduras came from assists
  • “It’s one of the team’s traits,” says Alan
  • The young midfielder is known for his ability to set up goals

Despite boasting a team brimming with individual talents, who have been attracting the attention of some of the world’s greatest clubs, Brazil showed in their 3-0 defeat of Honduras in the Round of 16 of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 that their teamwork is equally impressive, as all three of their goals were laid on a plate for one team-mate by another.

“Yes, it’s definitely one of the traits of this team,” attacking midfielder Alan – one of Brazil’s most promising young players – told FIFA.com. “And it’s something that demonstrates the unity of the squad.”

The impish No10, who was rested for his country’s third group match against Niger, due to the fact he had a yellow card looming over him, continued: “We always look for a pass if that pass is going to find a team-mate who's better placed to put the ball in the net. There’s no selfishness in this team.”

  • Brazil: assists per match
  • 2-1 vs. Spain: 1 (Marcos Antonio)
  • 2-0 vs. Korea DPR: 1 (Brenner)
  • 2-0 vs. Niger: 1 (Paulinho)
  • 3-0 vs. Honduras: 3 (Alan, Paulinho, Wesley)

Alan was the provider of the first Brazilian goal in Kochi, sending in a fine low cross for Brenner, who slotted the ball home. It was his first assist of the tournament. “An assist is like a goal – it’s another way of helping my team-mates,” he said. “And that’s what makes me most happy.”

Alan is certainly well-versed in the art of setting up goals, as he proved earlier this year in Chile, at the 2017 South American Under-17 Football Championship, where he recorded six assists in nine matches – more than any other player. “I don’t know if I’m the team’s best passer,” said the precocious 17-year-old. "Marcos Antonio, Bobsin and Paulinho, who already has two assists here in India, are also very good.”

Given that he has only managed one at India 2017 so far, does that mean that the team now rely on his creative skills a little less? “There’s a lot of quality here, and I’m just another good player. We all have the same mentality, and that’s what will help the team to keep winning,” he said.

Did you know?

  • Alan is the squad’s shortest player. “There’s room for tall, medium-sized and short players in football. My lack of height gives me greater speed and helps my overall game. Just look at Messi and Iniesta, who’s my favourite player. It’s not a problem.”
  • Alan made the transition from futsal to football at the age of 11. “I was playing for a club in San Paolo, and I happened to do well against Palmeiras. They called me and asked if I’d fancy playing football for them.
  • Alan dreams of Barcelona and Real Madrid. “Palmeiras’ fans already know who I am; I want to break into their senior team first before making any kind of move, and if I do well at the U-17 World Cup maybe that’ll happen. I’m in no hurry to leave the club.”