A memory that lodges deep in the ‘juvenile’ section of my psyche is of the battered and bruised underdog Rocky Balboa clinging to the top rope in victory and crying out for his wife in an act of eternal gratitude.
Fast forward to 2014, another bruised and battered underdog, in the form of Leeds United are pinning their hopes of similar salvation and gratitude.
The question remains, who is Adryan Oliveira Tavares and what is it that he can bring to the hustle and bustle of the Championship?
When it was rumoured that Leeds were in the process of signing. ‘Samba star’ there was initial confusion; would it be someone from ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ or would it be the arrival of a Brazilian saviour. To be fair, after the Roque Junior escapade, Leeds’ fans were hoping for sequins and sparkles but there is a genuine buzz of anticipation surrounding the signing of Adryan.
As with life as a Leeds United fan, this loan-to-buy option for Adryan wasn’t an easy affair. Adryan started his career in Brazil playing for top side Flamengo (insert date of seasons etc) before being transferred to Italian side Cagliari in (enter date). Enter Il Capo Cellino who, having prior knowledge of Adryan from his days as Cagliari owner, decided that he needed him up in the cosmopolitan area of Beeston LS11′. After much wrangling and negotiation, between clubs, player, agents, directors etc. Adryan signed for Leeds towards the end of the Summer Transfer window and has been given the Leeds’ #9 shirt from the recently departed Matt Smith who was sold on transfer deadline day to Fulham.
You don’t get to play for Brazilian side Flamengo at the age of 18 without having something about you. In the 2012 team he played alongside players such as Ronaldinho, Kléberson and Vagner-Love and, overall, it was his most productive season with 3 goals and 4 assists; the goals coming at a rate of 1 per 694 minutes and an assists/goals ratio of 1.75.
Not only is Adryan a first team player with 1840 minutes under his footballing belt but he is also a member of the Brazilian national side, representing Brazil at junior level for the U17 group; winning the 2011 Sudamericano U17 tournament and coming 4th in the Mexico 2011 U17 World Cup.
Correction – the 2011 Sudamericano App should read 8 not 5
Adryan finished that International season at U17 level highly regarded by many; indeed, he finished the 2011 U17 World Cup in Mexico as 3rd highest scorer (5 goals) in a Brazil U17 team that finished in 4th place in the tournament. In the 3rd/4th place game against Germany, which Brazil U17s lost 4-3, Adryan scored 2 goals and provided 1 assist. In that U17 team he played alongside such players as Marquinhos (now of Paris St Germain) and Lucas Piazon (now of Eintracht Frankfurt). During his 2011 International season for Brazil U17s; Adryan showed the kind of flair and skill set that has Leeds fans drooling with anticipation of his Championship debut after the current international break. During this time, Adryan scored 8 goals at the rate of 1 per 157 minutes and with an assist/goals ratio of 0.50.
So, as a Leeds fan myself, I join the long queues of the expectant and await the appearance of Adryan Oliveira Tavares in the famous white of Leeds United where, hopefully, his 2011 form will be replicated and that he will ‘rip apart’ the Championship and provide that ‘spark’ to ignite Cellino’s il rivoluzioni gloriosa and the charge towards the top of the Championship table.
Just don’t bring Roque Junior back with you Adryan.