A Brazilian youngster who has sparked into life since December, this week's star of the future is Felipe Anderson.
Name: Felipe Anderson
Club: SS Lazio
Debut: 3 October 2013 v Trabzonspor AŞ (UEFA Europa League)
Position: winger/ forward
Date of birth: 15/04/1993
Preferred foot: either
They say …
"Felipe Anderson has enormous potential. He is young but he is working very hard and can become unstoppable for any defender."
Stefano Pioli, Lazio coach
"Felipe Anderson looked like Cristiano Ronaldo tonight. He was man of the match by a mile. How would I have dealt with him? I'd have given him a few kicks, certainly. But to do that you have to catch him first."
Siniša Mihajlović, UC Sampdoria coach
Born in Brasilia, he played for various youth teams before being picked up by Santos FC in 2007. Making his senior debut aged 17 in 2010, he formed a thrilling partnership with good friend Neymar before joining Lazio in summer 2013 in a reported €8m transfer.
Playing style …
Blessed with great pace and intricate dribbling skills, Anderson is equally proficient with either foot and possesses a powerful shot. As prolific in making goals as scoring them, he has supplied nine goals and seven assists in his last 11 Serie A outings.
Shades of …
According to former Lazio and Italy midfielder Stefano Fiore, the Lazio No7 falls somewhere between Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar: "He is yet to reach that level but he is more of an assist-man compared to Ronaldo and more of a forward compared to Neymar." Lazio fans have fewer doubts and have already given him the moniker FA7, inspired by the Portugal phenomenon.
Eureka moment ...
After a difficult first season with the Biancocelesti – no goals in 13 Serie A outings – Anderson was again struggling to impact on games in the first half of the current campaign. The turning point came ten minutes from time in December's Coppa Italia tie against Varese Calcio. The Brazilian's thunderous long-range strike was his first in domestic football for the club – he did score in the UEFA Europa League last season – opened the floodgates and nine goals have followed in 12 matches since.
Best-case scenario …
With Lazio having won their last six league fixtures and sitting third in Serie A, UEFA Champions League football could raise the 21-year-old's profile to a new level next term. Should the Rome outfit qualify, Anderson – who recently extended his contract until 2020 – could gain vital experience as he seeks to become a big name on the European scene.
He says …
"Every game will be a battle from now on, but we want the UEFA Champions League and I'm sure we have enough quality to get there. My future? I have just renewed my contract with Lazio – we are only at the beginning of our story."
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