As is often the case in football, one man’s loss is another man’s gain. Lyon’s left-sided midfielder Michel Bastos has taken advantage of injuries on the part of his rivals to snatch a place in Brazil's squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
He won his first cap as recently as October 2009, when coach Dunga called him up for the friendly matches against England and Oman. After two solid performances, he won a starting berth for A Seleção’s only warm-up match before the world finals, when they beat Republic of Ireland 2-0, seeing off the challenge of more experienced rivals such as Gilberto and Andre Santos, even though the latter had performed creditably in a starting role at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2009.
The versatile Bastos, who can play anywhere on the left flank or in the heart of the midfield, began his career in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, although he was quickly picked up by Dutch club Feyenoord. He returned to Brazil after a brief spell in the Netherlands, and enjoyed a particularly successful campaign with Figueirense. His good form caught the eye of European scouts, and French club Lille swooped to take the youngster back across the Atlantic. This time, he settled quickly into European football and found a new role, settling into the middle of the park.
His most successful season in northern France was 2008/09. Bastos scored 14 goals and made ten assists as his club secured a place in the UEFA Europa League. His outstanding form was recognised by fans and journalists alike, as the Brazilian was voted into Ligue 1’s team of the season.
Lille decided to cash in on their Brazilian star, and French heavyweights Lyon made them an offer they could not refuse. Bastos started well at his new club, but his form fell away, and eventually injuries limited him to a place on the bench. He regained his old form, and his place in the starting XI, and has been a major factor in Les Gones' outstanding UEFA Champions League campaign this season.