At his eighth professional club spread over two continents and three countries, Brazilian international Michel Bastos arrived at FC Schalke 04 as a player who is no stranger to fresh challenges.
The dynamic left-sided player, capable of playing in defence or attack, joins the Royal Blues after two years as a professional in the Netherlands, three in his native Brazil and six in France - all in preparation for the prime of his career in Gelsenkirchen.
Born in the southern Brazilian city of Pelotas on 2 August 1983, Bastos’ first taste of football was with local amateur club Esporte Clube Pelotas, whom he joined as an 11-year-old in 1994. After a steady progression at youth level, he then took the brave step of signing his first professional contract in 2001, although not in his native Brazil. Instead he chose the Netherlands and Dutch giants Feyenoord, the first step on what would be a formative journey.
Being an unproven youngster in unfamiliar surroundings possibly told at Feyenoord, where he never made a first-team appearance, though he did see first-team action after joining neighbours Excelsior Rotterdam on loan. In 2003 he moved back to Brazil with Atletico Paranaense, but even there he struggled to hold down a regular starting spot and spent two further loan spells at Gremio Porto Alegre and Figueirense FC.
It was at the latter that Bastos really began to fulfil his potential, scoring ten league goals in 34 appearances between January and December 2005. He was back on the international radar, but it wasn’t parent club Paranaense that benefitted from his improvement. Instead, French side LOSC Lille were quickest to spot his still raw potential and he moved to the Stade Metropole in 2006, beginning a six-year spell in the country during which his name and reputation were forged.
At both Lille and Olympique Lyonnais, whom he joined in 2009, he became an essential first-team player, scoring 52 goals in 196 Ligue 1 appearances and winning the Coupe de France in 2012. Part of the Brazil squad which reached the quarter-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Bastos will bring a wealth of experience to the Veltins Arena. And for a youthful Schalke squad, against whom he played and scored in the UEFA Champions League in 2010, that experience could be invaluable.