IBWM StaffComment


IBWM StaffComment
Bra Bruno Mendes.jpg

Bruno Mendes     19     Striker     Botafogo     Brazil

2013 has been...

Thankfully there have been less contract and legal disputes surrounding Bruno Mendes in 2013 than there in 2012. As we released The 100 for 2013 in December last year, it appeared that the dust was settling on a court case that threatened to ruin Bruno’s move to Botafogo.

As a starlet in Brazilian football, Bruno Mendes’ rights were snapped up by a third-party sports management company as soon as he rose to prominence.  Mendes is an impressive player who knows where he needs to be to score goals. He like to put himself in areas where he expects the ball to finish up so that he can score.

As he made his move to Botafogo, complications began to show themselves thanks to the actions of his former club, Guarani. Facing financial difficulties, Guarani had apparently promised 25% of Bruno’s contract to Andrei, a veteran player in their squad, in exchange for his salary that had gone unpaid. As such, Andrei was seeking his fair share of the transfer deal and a lot of wrangling ensured.

As the court case was played out, it left Mendes without a club as all agreements around him were suspended. As far as we’re aware, the only way he could train with the Botafogo squad was by wearing unbranded sports kit that implied he wasn’t a member of their playing staff and simply a guest.

It’s all sorted now and for the last 11 months, Mendes has been working hard in training, developing his game and trying to grow as a player. We’ve not really a good chance of seeing him in action as he’s obviously struggled since his initial burst towards the end of last season when he bagged six league goals for Botafogo. He’s played just 137 minutes of Serie A football and until the weekend just gone, he hadn’t scored.

In fairness, Rafael Marques and Elias have both been in decent form for Botafogo in the league so far. Along with Vitinho – recently departed for Russia – the trio have scored 22 league goals between them. As such, there haven’t been many chances presenting themselves for the young striker to take, although Vitinho’s sale to CSKA Moscow will see Bruno move up the pecking order.

He was part of the Brazil squad that stumbled to a bottom place finish at the 2013 South American Youth Championship; but he was in the squad to get experience ahead of the next Olympics rather than influence results. After they failed to win either of their opening two games, Mendes started twice for Brazil and was encouraging. He didn’t score. However, the whole squad played poorly and we can’t blame their exit on the forward.

His brace against Atlético Paranaense recently, two simple finishes in a game where Botafogo had a man advantage, will help his confidence and should see him feature during the run-in. He’s done well to score eight league goals for Botafogo so far in his career; having spent a lot of time on the bench. With a run of games, we have no doubt his goal-scoring feats will continue.

What next?

With Vitinho now in the Russian Premier League, Bruno will see more minutes on the pitch. He’s played on each of the last three weekends in Serie A, albeit from the bench, and if he continues to pop in a few goals that should continue through 2014. Elias is a loan signing at the club and the onus will be on Bruno to prove he can handle a starting berth in the final few weeks of this year. If he can do that, it’ll mean he starts 2014 in a stronger position.

He’s already been earmarked as a prospect worth developing by the national team set-up. He’s got a couple of under-20 caps and that should see form part of the squad for the next Olympics. Not only is it a tournament that they’ll host but having lost out in the 2012 Gold Medal; everyone in Brazil will want the national side to finally break their hoodoo around the competition. The pressure will ramped up higher than you ever could imagine. Mendes has to be looking at that as his avenue towards eventually earning a place in the senior side and making himself a national hero for good measure.

"Compared to Careca after an impressive welter of goals upon his arrival at Botafogo at the end of 2012, the young striker hit the dreaded sophomore slump in 2013, enduring an almost seven month goal drought before scoring against Atlético-PR in November. “I’m delighted. I’ve always believed in him,” said his coach Oswaldo de Oliveira." - James Young, Tall Coconuts

"Went to January's South American Under-20 Championship with a fearsome reputation based on his 2012 achievements but disappointed. He would go on to lose his regular berth at club level also, but has begun to earn some playing time over recent weeks." - Christopher Atkins, The Elastico

"Bruno Mendes has scored eight goals in 14 career Brazilian Serie A appearances for Botafogo." - Opta

C-     Struggled for opportunities but the recent goals will help that. Go from here and get a load more