Copa America 2019

Everton's turn in limelight

Brazilian winger keen to strut his stuff in final, having shot to prominence with star displays

RIO DE JANEIRO • Brazil revelation Everton Soares said that his life has changed since his performances at the Copa America brought him global attention amid rumours of an imminent big-money move to Europe.

And he is set to be given another opportunity to put himself in the shop window tomorrow, when hosts Brazil play surprise packages Peru in the continental final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

"My professional and personal life have changed. I'm recognised worldwide," said the 23-year-old nicknamed Cebolinha (little onion) for 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 eye 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 would not be changing his Brazilian style of play.

Everton Soares is aware of the Copa America stage as a shopping window for potential suitors, and he intends to make use of it during the final against Peru.

Everton Soares is aware of the Copa America stage as a shopping window for potential suitors, and he intends to make use of it during the final against Peru.

He added that recently Brazilian and world football have both become "attached" to European football, the tactical style, which is different to the characteristics of Brazilians, featuring more individualistic dribbling.

Everton was a substitute in the first two games, but came off the bench to score a scorcher against Bolivia. He started the final group match against Peru and netted again in the 5-0 win, keeping his place since.

The Selecao have won four and drawn one of their matches and have yet to concede a goal.

Peru, meanwhile, have won only one of their three matches in the first phase, but overcame Uruguay on penalties in the quarter-finals before beating champions Chile 3-0 in their semi-final on Wednesday.

Everton, though, is not expecting a similar cake-walk against Peru, who self-destructed in that loss but were hugely impressive against Chile.

"It's important to have confidence and that's normal when you face an opponent you have already beaten," he said. "But we also know it will be a totally different game. We have to have our feet on the ground and know there will be a real battle." AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2019, with the headline 'Everton's turn in limelight'. Print Edition | Subscribe