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Shakhtar reap rewards of Douglas Costa coup

Published: Saturday 22 January 2011, 13.00CET
Dubbed "the best young player in South America" by Sir Alex Ferguson, FC Shakhtar Donetsk's Douglas Costa has made impressive strides since moving from Brazil a year ago.
by Bogdan Buga
from Kyiv
Published: Saturday 22 January 2011, 13.00CET

Shakhtar reap rewards of Douglas Costa coup

Dubbed "the best young player in South America" by Sir Alex Ferguson, FC Shakhtar Donetsk's Douglas Costa has made impressive strides since moving from Brazil a year ago.

Name: Douglas Costa
Club: FC Shakhtar Donetsk
Debut: 18 February 2010 (for Shakhtar) v Fulham FC (UEFA Europa League)
Position: Right-winger
Nationality: Brazilian
Date of birth: 14/09/90

I had quite a tumultuous start to my career, but I learned from that
Douglas Costa
Douglas is very talented, but talent is not enough in football any more
Mircea Lucescu
I've never seen such nimbleness – he is on a par with Messi
Darijo Srna

Once described by Sir Alex Ferguson as "probably the best young player in South America", Douglas Costa has been on the radar of many top European clubs since scoring on his debut for Grêmio Foot-ball Porto Alegrense in October 2008. Sir Alex's Manchester United FC, as well as Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona, were subsequently linked with the Brazilian, but Shakhtar were first to the punch, acquiring the then 19-year-old on a five-year deal last January.

It was Grêmio's most famous export, Ronaldinho, to whom Douglas Costa was soon likened after his rise to prominence in his homeland. His style and array of tricks, though, conjure comparisons with another of his countrymen – Robinho – while the winger himself says it is Cristiano Ronaldo whom he most admires.

Never slow in attempting the flashy on the pitch, Douglas Costa is anything but showy off it. Indeed, the hullabaloo that surrounded him in Brazil was perhaps too much for this quiet young man to bear. Yet if the burden of expectation contributed to his decision to head for Ukraine, the pressure of playing in the UEFA Champions League scarcely absolves him from the spotlight.

In fact, his pace, trickery and dribbling played a major part in helping Shakhtar to the round of 16 of Europe's most prestigious club competition for the first time in their history. Even before that, he had caught the eye of Brazil coach Mano Menezes, who invited him to a training camp with the senior side last September.

Still to make his national team bow, the attacker's combination of on-field ability and off-field demeanour will surely guarantee greater successes ahead for Douglas Costa.

Breakthrough game
SC Braga 0-3 FC Shakhtar Donetsk
28 September 2010, UEFA Champions League
Although he was a key man in all six Group H games for Shakhtar, it was in Braga that Douglas Costa demonstrated his match-winning talents. Twice a provider, with a sublime reverse pass on the first occasion, he iced the cake with an added-time penalty of his own.

He says:
"I had quite a tumultuous start to my career, but I learned from that. Now I try not to get involved in any hype whatsoever. I used to have two really good games but then my form would dip. I don't think people really understood me and I ended up dropping to the bench."
On struggling to find consistency

"Brazil are the best team in the world and this might be the only chance I get, so I'll do everything to come back."
After his first call-up to the Brazil squad

They say:
"Douglas is very talented, but talent is not enough in football any more. You have to work hard in training, be disciplined, organised and focused. Douglas is an example of such a player."
Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu

"I've never seen such nimbleness – he is on a par with Messi. His speed with the ball and technique are out of this world. I know many scouts watched him against Arsenal because lots of clubs are taking an interest – the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

"He really does stand out, he makes a difference on the pitch. Douglas can beat three players with ease. This boy is hugely talented and is certainly a player destined for a big club."
Shakhtar captain Darijo Srna

Last updated: 25/01/11 18.30CET

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