That long conveyor belt of talented Brazilians plying their trade in the Bundesliga shows no sign of slowing and Matheus Pereira is the latest import to samba his way round defenders in the German top-flight.
bundesliga.com takes a look at the burgeoning career of the 22-year-old turning the Max Morlock Stadion into a carnival.
Born in the Belo Horizonte municipality of Brazil, Pereira moved to Portugal aged just 12 to further pursue his budding dreams of a professional football career. After two years at Trafaria - a city that sits on the outskirts of Lisbon - Pereira secured a move to the capital’s heavyweights, Sporting Lisbon in 2010.
By January 2014, Pereira had made his debut for Sporting B in Portugal’s second division and a year later the then 19-year-old was given his first-team debut for Sporting on 1 October 2015 in a 1-1 draw with Turkish outfit Besiktas in the UEFA Europa League. His first Sporting goals soon followed with a brace in the 5-1 Group H victory over KF Skenderbeu before Pereira ended the season with eight league appearances for Sporting and three goals in five Europa League outings. He would eventually sit on the bench for both legs of the club’s exit to Bayer Leverkusen in the last-32 of the 2015/16 competition.
The following campaign would largely play out the same, Pereira finding himself reduced to just seven runouts for Sporting but scoring eight goals and creating five assists in 14 Segunda Liga outings for the B team. A loan move to GD Chaves a year on would give Pereira the chance to play regular top-flight football, the 5’7” winger going on to score seven goals and lay on five for his teammates in his 27 league games.
After arriving in Nuremberg in August 2018, Pereira needed some time to adapt but found the net three times in five games between Matchdays 27 and 31, including scoring in the 1-1 draw Bayern Munich.
Watch: Pereira scores his first Nuremberg goal
Plays a bit like: Mohamed Salah
Pereira may not be at the level of the Egyptian forward quite yet but the similarities in style between the pair are unmistakable. Strong in possession, full of pace, a fine dribbler and the orchestrator of intricate interplay and one-twos that split opposition banks are hallmarks of both players, as is their penchant for finishing high and hard across goal.
Salah also knows the frustrations of limited first-team chances and the benefits of greater exposure to top-level football, having spent time in Chelsea’s reserves before flourishing with both Fiorentina and Roma in Serie A. Similarly, after Pereira failed to score a league goal until Matchday 27, Nuremberg’s loan star bagged three goals in five following his maiden strike in the 3-0 win over Augsburg.
That was Nuremberg’s first win in 20 Bundesliga matches and the goals that followed in draws with Stuttgart and Bayern Munich suggest an encouraging habit of finding the target in big games that deliver much needed points. It is a knack Salah has also picked up since joining the Jürgen Klopp revolution at Anfield and if Pereira can continue to thrive with greater opportunity, he may yet replicate the output of Salah. The cut inside from the right and arrow a left-footer into the far corner also has a whiff of Arjen Robben about it, as Pereira emphatically showed against Bayern.
Did you know?
Pereira was on the brink of signing with Ligue 1 outfit Monaco in 2015 after being spotted by their head coach, Leonardo Jardim. However, the move fell through at the last minute and the young Brazilian signed a new contract at Sporting instead.
A loan deal to Nuremberg came to fruition three years later and, now Pereira is on the brink of securing dual nationality that could see him represent Portugal in the future. He has not played for Brazil at any level.
What they're saying
“He's proven what quality he has.” - Interim Nuremberg coach Boris Schommers.
“I think he's done a good job over and over again, he's a very good player and I'm very happy that he scored the goal." - Nuremberg goalkeeper Christian Mathenia following the Augsburg win.
“With Pereira, we have a unique footballer of high quality.” - Nuremberg captain Hanno Behrens.