Life has changed for 'little onion' Everton at Copa America

2019-07-04 21:18
2019 Copa America in Brazil logo
2019 Copa America in Brazil (File)

Rio de Janeiro - Brazil revelation Everton said his life has changed since his performances at the Copa America brought him global attention amidst rumors of an imminent big-money move to Europe.

And he is set to be given another opportunity to put himself in the shop window when hosts Brazil take on surprise-packages Peru in the Copa final in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

"My professional and personal life have changed. I'm recognized worldwide," said the 23-year-old nicknamed Cebolinha -- little onion -- because of his resemblance to a cartoon character with a similar tufty haircut.

"I'm trying to take advantage of and make the most of this time in my career, and I hope to be crowned in the final."

He has reportedly caught the attention of English champions Manchester City, their cross-town rivals Manchester United and French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

But Everton, who plays for Gremio in his homeland, insists that even if he does move to Europe, he won't be changing his Brazilian style of play.

He says that recently Brazilian and world football have both become "attached to European football, the tactical style, which is different to the characteristics of Brazilian players, which is dribbling, the one-on one.

"So I try to do this, which I've done since I was small and is the DNA of Brazilian football, with responsibility and evolving tactically but never fleeing from my characteristics: dribbling."

Everton started on the bench in Brazil's first two group games, although he scored a scorcher after coming on as a substitute against Bolivia.

He was then promoted to the starting line-up -- which he's kept ever since -- for the final group match and netted again in the 5-0 defeat of Peru, Sunday's final opponents.

Everton, though, is not expecting a similar cake-walk against Peru, who self-destructed in that match but were hugely impressive in their 3-0 semi-final victory over reigning champions Chile on Wednesday.

"It will be a totally different match. We have to be prepared to play well," he said.

Another player to have found himself promoted to the first team after starting on the bench is left-back Alex Sandro.

He replaced the injured Filipe Luis for Brazil's 2-0 semi-final victory over Argentina on Tuesday.

Brazil are overwhelming favorites to win Sunday's final but Sandro says they're taking it all in their stride.

"We feel good, it's normal that there is expectation, that there's pressure, but if there's pressure it's the pressure that brought us here," said the 28-year-old.

"We're used to pressure, we've grown with pressure, the more pressure, the better it is for us," said the Juventus defender.

Like Everton, he says the earlier group stage clash against Peru will have no bearing on Sunday's final.

"If Peru are in the final they deserve to be there. They're a team that has grown throughout the tournament, as we have too.

"The two teams that got there, got there on merit."

What will make the occasion extra special for Sandro is the fact that the final is taking place in Rio's iconic Maracana stadium.

"It's a special emotion to play in the Maracana. It's the dream of all kids, that's where every player's dreams begin. It's going to be a special final," he said.

Read more on:    brazil  |  copa america  |  everton  |  soccer


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