In 2021, it’s been a year of change. First of all, we had Lionel Messi’s exit from Barcelona after so many years and Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United after more than a decade.
We also had managerial moves with Xavi replacing Ronald Koeman at Barcelona and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leaving Man Utd, so it was a very eventful year.
The calendar was very crowded thanks to the pandemic, so games came thick and fast. I hope 2022 willl be a more normal year, with fans able to keep attending matches, and the World Cup running smoothly.
Here are some of my highlights of 2021…
Raphinha was Premier League’s best Brazilian
Out of all the Brazilian players in English football at the moment, I have to highlight Raphinha’s efforts in 2021 as the main surprise. He was impressive for Leeds and also had an immediate impact with the Brazilian national team.
Right now, he is the main star of his club when it comes to scoring and making goals. He shone for Brazil, showing that he has a strong personality and has no problem in playing his best football no matter if it’s club or international matches.
If he keepls playing well in 2022, I’m sure he will be in Brazil’s squad for the World Cup and, who knows, he could get a transfer to a bigger club in England or another country.
English clubs will dominate Champions League
All four English clubs in Champions League sealed their place in the Last-16 and, after two all English finals in the last three seasons, English football is as strong as ever.
With the best players and the most competitive league in the world it’s normal to see English clubs showing up very strong in the European competitions. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another final with one or even two English clubs in 2022.
This could be Vini Jr’s year
I’m curious to see how Vini Jr will continue playing for Real Madrid in 2022 after finally becoming a star of the team in 2021.
I’m confident he will keep playing well for Real Madrid, but his biggest challenge is to replicate it with the Brazilian national team as well.
With Brazil already qualified and some matches still to play, I’m sure Tite will give Vini chances to build his confidence in the national team, so that he can become an important player at the World Cup.
Time for Brazil to end 20-year World Cup drought
In 2022, it will be 20 years since I was part of the last Brazil team to win the World Cup.
All Brazilian fans are expecting another title this year.
Brazil famously went 24 years without winning the World Cup, between the 1970 win that was all about Pele and 1994’s Bebeto and Romario title. Now we’re facing a similar drought, but I’m confident that we have an excellent squad and will be one of the strongest teams in Qatar.
It would be very important for all the players to win it, especially Neymar who is appearing in his third World Cup.
England can challenge if they handle pressure
England have a good squad, but they also have a lot of pressure on their shoulders. If the Brazilian national team has a growing pressure after a 20-year drought, imagine the English national team who have been chasing this title since 1966.
At the moment, I believe England has a very talented squad with many players competing in the best league in the world, but luck still eludes them as we saw with Euro 2020.
They are one of the best national teams in the world and will compete for the title in Qatar along with other big teams like Brazil, Argentina, Germany and France.