Ganso is the latest and greatest young playmaker in Brazil, but are the media right to compare him to Kaka?
Ganso during his debut for the Brazil senior national team in a friendly against the USA.
With nearly every squad of players at nearly every football club in history you can watch them play and recognise the better players; you can recognise that maybe one player stands out more than the others. When Ganso is on the pitch you can see more than that. You can instantly recognise that he’s the heart of the team. You can instantly recognise that he’s a cut-above the rest. You can instantly recognise that he’s something special.
It’s often hard to sum up a player in just one word, but in the case of Ganso, it’s actually remarkably easy - “magician”. All over Brazil he’s dubbed ‘the new Kaka’, and it’s evident why. His vision is something that you only see in a few players per-generation. His passing is so sublime it seems almost as if he can see his team-mates’ movements before they even know they’re going to make them. When you look at the Santos team, you talk about Neymar. He’s the star, he’s the goalscorer and he’s the idol. What people often forget is that the goal scorer would be absolutely nothing without the goal creator. As the famous saying goes – “a striker can only do what he can with the delivery he’s given.” Well, if that’s the case, it must be an absolute dream to have Ganso threading passes into your path. Neymar even went as far to comment in an interview saying that his team-mate and fellow countryman is “the left footed Zidane.” The BBC’s South American football correspondent Tim Vickery also praised him, saying “he’s strong in possession, with the vision to see a killer pass and the technique to play it!”
So, the press compare him to Kaka and his team-mates compare him to Zidane - is there really any higher praise for a young midfielder?
It’s not just his vision and passing that earn him such rave-reviews. He’s very much a goal scoring midfielder too, netting 26 times in his 110 professional games. His positional awareness and movement are both also superb, which allows him to create masses of space for himself, and his team-mates, extremely easy. People say that the best players always find space to play, but I disagree with that statement - the best players create space to play.
So, you may be thinking “if he’s as good as you, the media and his team-mates make out, why isn’t he playing for a top European club?”, and it’s a very good question. He has been extensively scouted over the past season especially, but like so many others before him Ganso’s career has been plagued by injury. He’s been forced to miss huge chunks of playing time, including the majority of this season, in which he’s only played 14 games for Santos. A host of huge teams still remain interested though, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Lyon all particularly interested in securing his signature. Manchester City are also keeping tabs on him, and insisted that Robinho’s loan deal to Santos last season included a clause giving them first refusal on Ganso during the loan spell. I’d expect to see him playing for a major club soon, with Inter and AC Milan his most likely destinations.
Is Ganso the new Kaka? Simple answer - yes.