Matheus Cunha: Who is Hertha Berlin's Olympic Gold Medal-winning Brazilian forward?
The scorer of the Bundesliga's Goal of the Year in 2019 has established himself as one of the Bundesliga's most talented forwards. The Olympic Gold Medal winner with Brazil has been lighting up the German top-flight since his arrival at RB Leipzig, and now at Hertha Berlin.
bundesliga.com profiles Hertha's Samba King, whose love for Futsal inspires his footballing talent...
Club: Hertha Berlin
Country: Brazil (16 U23 caps/15 goals)
After enjoying an eye-catching debut season of senior football at Sion in Switzerland in 2017/18 - the former Coritiba youth player hit 10 goals and eight assists in 29 league matches, including a hat-trick on the final day against FC Thun - the Futsal-inspired Brazilian joined RB Leipzig.
The versatile forward - who can play across the front line - will be well remembered for winning the 2019 Bundesliga Goal of the Year with his stunning effort for Leipzig against Bayer Leverkusen that April, and Cunha managed a total of nine goals and three assists in his two years at the club before heading to the capital in search of regular first-team football.
Watch: Cunha's 2019 Goal of the Year!
Before he began life at Hertha, Cunha was helping his country qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games. He ended the competition as top goalscorer courtesy of five strikes in as many games. Having scored in two Group B wins that helped secure Brazil's passage to the final stage, Cunha struck a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Uruguay and hit a brace in his country's 3-0 victory in their final, must-win, showdown against table toppers Argentina.
In 39 Bundesliga appearances for the Old Lady, Cunha has scored 12 goals and provided eight assists, establishing himself as one of the first name's on the team-sheet at the Olympiastadion. And in the summer of 2021, the Joao Pessoa-born forward helped Brazil win Gold at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Cunha scored three goals - including the first in the final against Spain - en route to glory.
Plays a bit like: Roberto Firmino
Yes, they are both Brazilian, yes they are both forwards. But those are far from the only reasons why Cunha and former Hoffenheim attacker Roberto Firmino are alike. Much like the former Bundesliga star, Cunha honed his skills on the streets of Brazil, giving him a one-up on defenders. He can beat them with his speed, skill or intelligence to drift from his marker, having practiced in every position across the front line.
And much like Firmino, Cunha - even when leading the line - can be found dropping into midfield to pick up possession and link up play with teammates. It's part of the reason why he's such a hard attacker to defend against because more often than not, he's not where you expect him to be.
Did you know?
Like many Brazilians before him, Cunha's first love was not mainstream football but a variation of it which helps players become incredibly skilful: Futsal. When speaking about his goal vs. Leverkusen, Cunha told bundesliga.com…
"In Brazil, everyone jokes with me that it was a goal more from futsal and indoor football. The goal was definitely inspired by futsal because I used to play a lot of futsal and it's the sport that I love the most. I even like it more than outdoor football."
What they're saying
"Matheus has something special. He can always produce something with a moment of individual brilliance." - Former Hertha head coach Bruno Labbadia
"Matheus is a young player with enormous potential, who has already shown his impressive skills" – Former Hertha Berlin sporting director Michael Preetz
"I believe my biggest aim is to play for the Brazil national team. I believe the national team environment, especially in the U23s, is the coolest environment a young footballer can have." – Cunha
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