Ghostly Ganso: Brazil’s Forgotten Man


Now Neymar is at Barcelona and has already announced himself at his own countries World Cup this month, it’s easy to forget that at one time everyone was banging on about the Santos duo of Neymar and Ganso.

As I have said Neymar is now regarded as one of the best players in the world, yet what happened to Paulo Henrique Ganso?

Back in 2010 Brazil’s fanatical support wanted both included in Carlos Dunga’s World Cup squad. The former captain resisted the urge to call up either of the exciting pair, deciding to go with players that had helped get the side to South Africa.

But by the Brazil 2014, both would be the key men for ‘A Seleção’. Its not an exaggeration to suggest that at one time, you couldn’t mention Ganso without naming Neymar in the same sentence and vice versa.

As we know Neymar realised his promise and would seal a megabucks move to Europe, while Ganso made a few bad choices and had some horrible luck with injuries and is now an outsider looking in.

When Luiz Felipe Scolari made his final selection back in May, there was no Ganso and to be honest no one had even thought he was a potential choice for the squad. While some in Brazil and further a field asked where is Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Moura? No one mentioned Ganso. Even Robinho and Kaka got a few sympathetic lines in the press, Ganso’s exclusion wasn’t even thought about.

Ganso is still only twenty-four, maybe his time will come but Brazil have a lot of creative, exciting playmakers coming off the conveyor belt. The man that holds that position currently is Chelsea’s Oscar and he’s two years younger than Paulo Henrique.

His fitness has always been called into question. He has suffered from two serious knee injuries that between them kept him out of soccer for a year. But the main issues now with Ganso are the niggling strains that have dogged him for a few years now. Whether those injuries are real or in his mind, until he plays a lot of games in a row, no one will take him seriously as an heir to Zinedine Zidane’s throne as a world class midfield maestro.

Ganso’s passing abilities and his touches of a football ooze class but again we haven’t seen enough to say that he should be constantly in the Brazil squad. The talented player only has eight caps to his name, that is such a shame.

But then again, maybe that is down to the boy himself. He left Santos under a cloud, due to contractual issues. But instead of a move to Europe (PSG and AC Milan were both linked with offers), Paulo Henrique Ganso went to Sao Paulo. For me it seemed like the easy choice and staying in Brazil meant he could keep his creature comforts and not challenge himself to the same degree.

At ‘Tricolor’ things haven’t gone swimmingly for the attacking midfield man. He hasn’t recaptured his best form and has now managed to be frozen out of the squad as he publicly attacked respected coach Muricy Ramalho’s tactics. When things aren’t going well for you it easy to blame things like coaches, tactics and injuries but there must come a time when Ganso looks at himself and decides to change his ways.

The player needs to move, preferably to a decent European side that offers no off the field distractions. He needs to get fully fit, get a full pre-season under his belt and then get through a good run of games.

Should he manage all that, then once again Brazil may come calling and a partnership with Neymar may just happen again.

At the moment no one really cares about Ganso, those outside of Brazil barely remember him. That isn’t right, he has/had so much talent but it is up to him whether or not the world can see that again!

Let’s face it, last night the whole of Brazil cheered on Neymar… But what was Ganso thinking?

‘That could have been me?’ Perhaps.

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