Things to know about the Copa Libertadores player of the tournament

It’s not often that a Brazilian superstar sneaks into our nets, but very few of us on European shores would have known too much about Santos Marinho’s talisman, before their incredible race to the Copa Libertadores final. .

The Brazilian giants scored huge victories on their way to the grand final on Saturday night, beating Gremio and beating Boca Juniors 3-0 in the semifinals. At the heart of that hot streak was a 30-year-old winger called Marinho, who only joined Alvinegro in 2019, after a less than successful spell with Gremio.

Bending for South America | Pool / Getty Images

Ultimately, that dramatic run to the final ended in heartbreak, as Palmeiras lifted the trophy on Saturday, thanks to Breno Lopes ‘stunning header in the 99th minute, destroying Santos’ ambitions in the way. the cruelest imaginable.

But Marinho still received the award for the best of the Copa Libertadores tournament, following his fascinating performances in preparation for the final. So who is this late wonder? 90 mins gives you an overview of the main things to know about this majestic left foot beauty.

2020 has been a pretty bad year for everyone – but not if your name is Marinho. The winger has stood out as South America’s best player this year and his unstoppable form led Santos to the Copa Libertadores final.

Marinho has scored 22 goals in 38 games during 2020 for Santos, providing seven assists along the way. His blazing speed on the pitch and willingness to shoot from anywhere destroyed defenders and goalkeepers, and his left foot will go down in Santos history.

But he wasn’t always a Brazilian football star…

The road to the top has been long and difficult for our new superstar. He first joined the Santos youth team at the age of 17, full of hopes and dreams of becoming a black and white hero.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case – at least for now. He had to fall in Serie B and Serie C to find his feet in football, and after excelling with Vitoria in 2016, he then moved to China and Gremio left his career on the verge of collapse again.

However, a surprise return to Santos breathed life into 2019, and he hasn’t looked back since then. The only thing missing from this fairy tale is the Copa Libertadores trophy.

Angers SCO v Paris Saint-Germain - Ligue 1
Glowing Comparisons | Xavier Laine / Getty Images

Marinho’s unforgettable rise to the top of South American football has also earned him a pretty catchy nickname. Di Marinho. That’s right, his similarities to Paris Saint-Germain superstar Angel Di Maria mean he was named in honor of the Argentine by Vitoria fans. Does he like comparisons, however?

“I really like it,” he explained in an interview with FIFA. “It was a nickname that came from the Vitoria supporters, when I was there in 2016, because we had, more or less, similar styles of play.

“It’s a very affectionate nickname. I have a lot of admiration for Di Maria, so the nickname is really cool. ” That’s it, then.

Argentina striker from Barcelona Lionel M
A young Neymar photographed with Pelé and a fan | FRANCK FIFE / Getty Images

Marinho is also following in the footsteps of some football legends. Two of the greatest Brazilian footballers of all time, Pelé and Neymar, are both heroes of Santos, and the duo spoke personally with our new star, wishing him well ahead of the grand final against Palmeiras. It’s safe to say, he’s living the dream.

“It was really cool when he made a video call and asked to speak to me,” Marinho explained of Neymar. He always treats me very well. I have great admiration for him. Receiving the support of a player like Neymar and the king of football, Pelé, is something that gives us a lot of motivation.

“Pelé has made history, Neymar is making history. Having them both look at us, sending their support makes us really happy. ”

It is every Brazilian kid’s dream to wear their country’s famous yellow and represent it on the football field. For Marinho, that dream is farther and farther from reality as his career has fallen apart, but after a superb 12 months with Santos, Brazilian coach Tite is considering making a call to the 30-year-old.

“To hear the Seleção coach says your name makes you really happy, ”Marinho beamed.

“If I am called by the Seleção it’s because of my work in Santos. Wearing the shirt of my country would be something incredible, the realization of a childhood dream. “Come on Titus, do the right thing and make him a world star.

There is an unwritten rule in the world of football that no matter what you want you should never, already, touch the trophy when entering the field in a final. Marinho broke that law on Saturday night and paid the ultimate price.

Santos lost the Copa Libertadores final in the cruelest of fashions, conceding a 99th goal to Palmeiras, leaving Marinho heartbroken at the final whistle.

If you touch the trophy, you have to face the consequences.