When Douglas Costa says moving to Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München "changed his life", he is not exaggerating.
The turbo-charged winger is widely regarded as one of the best in the Bundesliga these days – something that has not gone unnoticed in his native Brazil.
The perfect fit
"I'm very happy, I've acclimatised to the club and the city very quickly," former FC Shakhtar Donetsk favourite Costa told fcbayern.tv. "The most important thing was that all my team-mates helped. I think my qualities fit the club's style of play very well."
Fans should have known something special was afoot when Costa registered a debut goal and assist in the 5-0 rout of Hamburger SV back on Matchday 1, yet that indelible introduction was merely a taster to what has been a smorgasbord of delectable individual performances up and down the Bayern flanks.
"Our game style is much improved since Douglas Costa came in," Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola said earlier in the campaign. "We can use the whole pitch and our strikers get more chances. He has a quality which is hard to find: the quality of his dribbles. He is one of the best wingers in the world. He can become one of the five best wingers in the world."
Brazil's beacon of hope
With an immaculate first touch, a breathtaking turn of pace and a venomous left boot, Costa indeed boasts all the attributes needed to reach the apex of the world game. His five goals and 13 assists in 32 competitive outings for Bayern this season speak volumes, but he is also now delivering on the international stage with regularity.
The 25-year-old has started four of Brazil's last five CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers, laying on four goals and chipping in with two of his own - the most recent of which came after 39 seconds in the 2-2 draw with Uruguay on 26 March.
There was no shortage of retrospection and self-analysis following Brazil's infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but it is the emergence of Costa that has proved most illuminating as the Selecao attempt to forget one of the darkest nights in their history.