23 October, 2007

Obscure South American of the Week 4

Name – Kerlon Moura Souza a.k.a. Kerlon

Affiliation - Crizeiro F.C.

Reason for coolness – He does the ‘Seal Dribble’

Reason for Obscurity – He only burst onto the scene two summers ago in the South American Under-17s Championship in Venezuela and has publicly stated that he isn’t “ready” for exposure outside of the Brazilian league. Also, he certainly ain’t no oil painting.

Meet young Brazilian chap Kerlon, who is a centre forward best known for his ability to flick the ball up onto his head and run at amazing speeds while still juggling with it during matches. Known only as the mystical ‘seal dribble,’ it is a technique so devious because it is nigh on impossible for the defending team to win the ball back off him legally. The speed at which he travels while doing this, coupled with his ability to change direction on a sixpence, makes opponents resort to just clattering him to the ground virtually every time and giving away a freekick. He is said to have learned the move from his father, Silvinho, who was (quite arrogantly) ‘stunned’ when Kerlon mastered the ancient move. “It's just a skill I have,” he says, “though it's not meant to be a mark of disrespect for my opponents. Opponents say they will snap me, but this doesn’t scare me, it just motivates me even more.”

The gimmick has been enough to unsurprisingly raise eyebrows around the world, and the oft-denoted title of “the new Ronaldinho” has been applied to Kerlon numerous times already. Manchester United are consistently linked with the young star in the British press, while recently, rumours of a move to both sides of Milan to join his various Brazilian bredrin have appeared in the Italian papers. In a statement at the start of the 2007 season, Kerlon himself announced that he wanted to see the year through with Cruzeiro before considering a permanent move in Europe.

So, he is actually any good, or just a bit of sideshow entertainment? Well, so far he has managed only one goal in the professional game, but was the leading goal scorer and official Best Player at the aforementioned South American u17s, so I guess it’s not yet apparent. You have to wonder how he would fare in the Premier League though. Given the physical treatment guys like Ronaldo and Torres face week in, week out, would it all be a bit much for him at just 20 years old? It’s not hard to imagine him dinking the ball onto his head, starting to dart into the box juggling it, only to be literally broken in half by someone like Andy Todd, Chris Samba or Andre Bikey…

Anyway, enough talk, see him bust out this immense move for yourself, and check out the absolute shoeing he takes from defenders every time he does it: