It is a modern but well-worn curse for players of a certain age from Brazil to be labelled as the 'new Kaka', with the likes of Hernanes, Ganso and a whole host of others having been compared to the Real Madrid man - the country's most high-profile player of the last decade.
It is hard to imagine that anyone has suffered the curse as much as Internacional’s Oscar, who started at the same Sao Paulo grounds where the former AC Milan playmaker first made his name. However, with a big-money move to Europe in the offing and Chelsea the likely destination, the comparisons are justified.
At the Morumbi youth ranks, when Oscar was 16, people were already predicting that the Tricolor had a star in the making. The Tricolor board, however, must have been in shock when the player and his representatives went to court to claim his player rights from the club. The lawyers alleged that the youngster was coerced into signing a five-year contract with Sao Paulo when he was 16, despite FIFA’s strict rules against this kind of act. There then followed a series of legal disputes between Oscar and the club from the end of 2009 until mid-2010, when he signed for Internacional.
Joining the then Copa Libertadores champions was not always easy for the player, as he was far behind coach Celso Roth’s first team preferences, having to battle for a spot against the likes of Andrés D’Alessandro, Tinga and Giuliano. Oscar enjoyed little playing time during the second semester, but it was enough for Inter fans to acknowledge what a gem of a player their team had just signed. As was predicted, he only had a few minutes during the tragic Club World Cup campaign later that year, much to the supporters’ disapproval. The fact is, as soon as the next preseason started, Oscar grabbed a starting place and never let it go.
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER | INTERNACIONAL
One of the most important contributions that Oscar brings to the current Inter squad is the ability to speed up play, due to his intense movement and great on-ball skills. Playing opposite D’Alessandro, he is able to give options other than the Argentinian’s slow-tempo game, by starting counterattacks and making himself available to finish in the box. And here is the other upside to Oscar: although he prefers wandering and participating in the intermediate section of the pitch, he provides a headache to the opposition defenses every time he gets inside the penalty area. (Even though he shows great finishing touch, his slim build may be something to worry about in a more physical division like the Premier League.)
All of this was particularly highlighted at Brazil’s under-20 world championship campaign, when Oscar could show most of his potential without being in the shadow of players like Neymar and Ganso. He played an important part in the team’s success, involving fellow teammates in attacks and being a decisive member himself; he scored a stunning hat trick in the 3-2 final win against Portugal.
From then on, he started to make himself visible for the senior national squad, a status he was given last September, and which he maintains until today.
Everything was going well for the midfielder until February, when Sao Paulo’s appeal at the Labor Court was successful and the player was forced to rejoin his former club. An intense struggle then followed for weeks between Inter and the Tricolor’s boards, each side trying to keep the starlet on its squad. Oscar’s wish, to remain at the Colorado, was finally granted after both clubs settled the purchase of the playmaker’s rights for approximately 6 million euros (4.7m pounds), the most expensive transfer between national clubs until now.
Certainly, after Oscar’s impressive performance at the latest Selecao’s friendlies, including a goal scored against Argentina, Inter should be convinced it has a great deal. The recent signing of Diego Forlán shows that it is ready to let its young star shine elsewhere.