Full Name: Douglas Costa de Souza
- Spoiler: show
- Costa is a quick and highly skilful on the ball, but also surprisingly strong considering his relatively slight build. This could make him more suited to the Premier League than his compatriot Robinho, who has been accused of being a tad lightweight and looking like he doesn’t particularly fancy the rough and tumble of a wet Wednesday evening at Stoke.
In recent years, Gremio’s academy has produced an honourable list of graduates – Anderson (Manchester United), Lucas (Liverpool) and Carlos Eduardo (Hoffenheim).
Word in Porto Alegre is that their latest gem, 19-year-old midfielder Douglas Costa, already dubbed ‘The New Ronaldinho’, might top them all – if he decides to focus on football.
“When he appeared, I said that he was going to be the best player Grêmio youth squads had ever nurtured. But I didn’t know he would lack the discipline to make it. He has enormous potential, he’s Seleção-bound, but he has to be aware of it. If he does, he’s a €20 million player, minimum,” claimed Grêmio captain, Tcheco.
Since being unveiled last year as Grêmio’s next hero, Douglas Costa has had a hard time dealing with the spotlight. A regular in the national team youth squads, with Ronaldinho-like dribbling skills and attitude, the midfielder attracted the attention of Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid, but never settled as a Grêmio starter.
Off-pitch problems also hurt him – in June, the young playmaker was arrested for driving without a license, which led to a scolding from the club. And as well as his lightening feet, the youngster shares Ronaldinho’s passion for the nightclubs, too.
Coach Paulo Autuori, however, is confident that time will help the midfielder live up to the hype. “He still needs to mature. Some do it quick, some take a little while. Douglas is a high quality player who’ll certainly be a star.”