Manuel Veth –
On June 1st, 2019, Alisson Becker, born in Novo Hamburgo, the southernmost municipality of Rio Grande do Sul, lifted the most prestigious trophy that club football has to offer. The UEFA Champions League is the very pinnacle of club football and one of the top prizes in football.
The Brazilian shot-stopper joined Internacional’s academy in 2002 at the age of ten and featured prominently for the 2010 Copa Libertadores winners under-23 side. Alisson made his senior debut for the club as a 21-year-old in a 1-1 draw against Cruzeiro back in February of 2013.
Following the goalkeeper’s impressive rise in Brazil, Alisson caught the attention of Roma and eventually signed a pre-contract with the Italian giants in early 2016 in a deal that was worth approximately £7.5 million. It would be in Rome, the capital of Italy, that Alisson would announce himself to the world as one of the best goalkeepers as he boasted the third-best save percentage (79.26) in world football during his final season in Italy.
Upon moving to the Italian capital, Alisson had to wait until the 2017-18 season before becoming the first-choice goalkeeper at Roma. During that season, the Brazilian played 37 league matches and averaged 2.9 saves per 90 minutes, while also averaging 29.2 passes. More crucially, perhaps, Alisson played a fundamental role in Roma keeping 17 clean sheets and the Brazilian was forced into making 155 saves in all competition.
With his ever-growing reputation, Alisson once again became linked with some of Europe’s biggest clubs and eventually sealed a £66.6m transfer to Liverpool which appeared to be an expensive one because it went against the conventional wisdom, but just less than 12 months on, it has so far proved to be money well spent.
After establishing himself as Brazil’s number one goalkeeper, Alisson’s transfer to the Premier League saw him directly compete with his compatriot, Manchester City’s Ederson, for the title. Although Jurgen Klopp’s side would fall short despite a record-breaking second placed points finish, it would be in Europe where Alisson tasted glory and wrote his name into the history books.
In the Champions League final, hosted in Madrid, the Brazilian denied Tottenham Hotspur on eight different occasions as Liverpool went on to claim their sixth European Cup. In Champions League history, no player has made more saves than Alisson in a Champions League final in the last 15 years. The Brazilian instantly became a hero on Merseyside.
Now, Alisson sits on the brink of national glory as the Selecao are favourites in the international football betting to win the tournament on home soil. Brazil’s number one has established himself as one of the very best in football, and his incredible season is far from over as Brazil look to win their sixth Copa America and their first since 2007.
From the young, ambitious goalkeeper that joined Internacional’s academy in 2002, to a Champions League winner 17 years later. Whilst Alisson is vastly experienced, a player of his calibre is likely to taste continued success throughout the remainder of his career, and could enjoy Copa America glory before the new campaign even begins.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.