Name : Everton Ribeiro
Position : CAM/RW/LW
Height : 5 ft. 9 in
Club : Cruzeiro
League Position : 1st
Goals (2013) : 15
A week ago, I had never heard of Everton Ribeiro. After the player’s admission that he would like to play for Manchester United, I was piqued to find out what sort of a talent he is. Here is what I found:
Everton Augusto de Barros Ribeiro is a Brazilian attacking midfielder who plays for Cruzeiro in the Brasileiro. He is the winner of the Bola de Ouro for 2013, awarded to the Best Player in the Brazilian National Championship. He is 24 years old and 5 ft 9 in., tall.
At first glance, Everton is the typical Brazilian footballer – skilful, fast, tricky and possessed of an innate sense of footballing wisdom that is so prevalent in Brazilians.
He can waltz past defenders in tight spaces and likes to play just behind the striker but doesn’t mind drifting out to either wing. The hallmark of Everton’s game is that he likes to keep it simple. His first touch is exemplary and he never overdoes a pass. He offers a pacey outlet through the middle in much the same way as Mezut Ozil does for Arsenal, although Ribeiro still needs to prove whether he can replicate his brilliance in a top European League. Looking at the past winners of the Bola de Ouro – Neymar, Ronaldinho, Tevez, Robinho, Kaka – Everton seems to be in very good company indeed.
Unlike most Brazilians – and many would argue with me here- his style seems better suited to the Premier League because he plays a simple one touch game, is mentally tough and can move across 3 positions at will – CAM, RW, LW. However, his size will remain an issue. At 5 foot 9, he will have to bulk up to retain the same competitiveness in the BPL or else he will go the way of Kagawa and other slight creative players who have struggled to make an impression.
This season, he has almost exclusively played on the right wing, cutting inside on his favored left foot to play diagonal through balls or have a shot at goal.
He is also a brilliant set-piece specialist, with his in-swinging corners and free kicks accurately picking out the head of the tallest team mate time and again. It is needless to say that Everton is one of the primary reasons why Cruzeiro are Champions of Brazi for 2013.
First touch & Ball control – 4/5
Speed – 4/5
Finishing – 3.5/5
Passing – 3/5
Strength – 2/5
Balance – 4/5
Crossing – 3/5
Total – 23.5/25
Everton has created the most chances in the Brasiliero this season and he is also astonishingly tricky, often using simple and clever 1-2s to beat his man with ease. His pace, skill, finishing and touch are skilled up neatly in the below goal he scored against Flamengo.
Everton beats three men with a neat flick on the right wing, and then proceeds inside the box where he is accosted by the center back.
Taking the ball on the volley, he bounces it over the defender and finishes with aplomb.
It is astonishing to see how more than 50% of his passes(868 this season) are forward passes. It is almost reminiscent of Ozil and shows how unselfish Everton is.
Although playing on the right, Everton drifts inside to the central areas a lot and thus we can see 42% of his chances originate in the hole behind the striker.
The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful
As a 16 year old, Everton had been invited by Man Utd who were aware of his talents to have a visit of their training center.
To define his style, one would have to use the following terms: Imaginative, simple yet effective and directness.
Everton’s style of play is quite similar to what Messi used to do before being played as a false nine by Guardiola. Starting out on the right wing, Everton drifts inward and likes to give defenders a torrid time: Will he cut in or will he go wide? And given his pace, dribbling and shooting, either the defender commits a tackle, by which time Everton would have raced forward with a neat trick or if the defender maintains his stance, he simply passes it out to the opposite flank and continues his run inside. He is a true number 10 with pace who is also capable of playing on the wings.
Below we can see that his average rating for 2013 is a high 7.4 which brings us to another feature of his game: Consistency. Averaging at least 2 key passes per game with a completion rate of 80%, it is no wonder then that such direct forward play on a regular basis must have paved the way for his winning the Bola de Ouro.
This aspect of Everton’s game is evident when we see the below stats: He is able to maitain a decent rating no matter which position he is played in. Usually Everton plays the full 90 mins which means he won’t have a problem adapting to the fast pace of the Premier League.
I would say his first main strength is his forward passing which is so crucial in today’s game where there is only a tenth of a second available to open up defenses. That is why players like Ozil, Wilshere and Cazorla are so successful today – because they can make that pass in transition under pressure. I have no doubt that Ribeiro will be as good if not a better player than those three, because in addition to his forward passing, he is a skilled dribbler, a good crosser and is deadly at set pieces.
He can throw in those unexpected pieces of skill that define every trickster but he knows when to use a trick and when not to. That points to a mature head on his shoulders. His balance, body swerves and bursts of speed are a sight to behold and when beating a man to the byline before delivering cross, Everton is second to none.
The below highlight reel brilliantly displays his skill as well as his direct style of play and creativity:
The only weakness that you can attribute to Everton game is that he tends to use his left foot more often and this becomes a problem when he has to shift the ball to his right and shoot in an instant. However, that doesn’t mean he has a poor right foot but he can improve in this area. Also, given his size, he is not especially good in the air. Also, a more well-built physique will go a long way when he comes into contact with Ryan Shawcross on a cold night at the Brittania (the real litmus test for any player of course!).
The balance of Giggs, the explosiveness of Ribery, the low center of gravity of Messi and the finishing of Robben all in a package a little bigger than the size of Shaqiri. Of course, all this hype is unwarranted and by these comparisons, I am only giving an idea of the undoubted potential that Everton has. Needless to say, it would be foolish to assume that Ribeiro will grow into this beastly amalgamation of legends but he is rather a gem of a talent who can add quality to any team he is in. I see him flourishing on the left hand side of midfield or in the attacking midfield role of any top European side within years. Only time will tell whether Everton Ribeiro lives up to his promise or not.