Midfielder | Barcelona | Brazil
When reading about Arthur “The New Xavi” Melo it’s often tempting to wonder why we do this to ourselves; more to the point, why do we do it to our young footballers? Isn’t just watching them develop enough without setting them up for such a fall?
Barcelona may have finished as Spanish champions *and* Copa del Rey winners but that doesn’t stop their 17/18 season from being seen as something of a failure, having been knocked out of the Champions League by Roma at the quarter final stage. As such, the transition period after the old guard of Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez has passed and a new wave of expensive young signings has led many to believe that Barcelona’s time at the top of Europe has come to a close.
Perhaps one of the reasons for that is the concept of a Barcelona style of play. Indeed, a Barcelona style of player. But if there’s one of the newer recruits who just looks the part in a Blaugrana shirt it’s Arthur, with his clever movement and turns, his eye for a pass and his ability to play in tight spaces. The excitement arises not just because of his significant talents, but also because of the way he fits the footballing culture at one of Europe’s great clubs.
2018 Has Been…
… A breakthrough year.
It may not be the case for everyone in Britain, but in football Europe is very much where a professional footballer wants to be! Forcing his way into the Gremio side that won the Copa Libertadores in 2017 didn’t bring Arthur to mainstream attention on these shores, nor did winning the Campeonato Gaucho. But half a season starring at Barcelona certainly has.
He is now front of mind for a worldwide audience, and the consistency of his performance this season alongside Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic in the Barcelona midfield mean he’s now part of one of the world’s best midfield trios. It’s been a meteoric rise.
A long career at a top club seems likely. If the early indications of his potential are correct he’ll be a Barcelona player for the foreseeable future. All six of his Brazil caps have come in 2018, and although he missed out on the World Cup, he’s likely to be a stalwart in his international team in the future, too.
Comparisons to the greats notwithstanding, more trophies are on the cards - they always are at the Camp Nou - and at just 22 there’s plenty of time to rack up a heap of them.