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Wonder kid Kaio: Everything you need to know about him

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Kaio Jorge the 19-year-old may be a youngster who has been dubbed the ‘new Cristiano Ronaldo’ due to his stature, strength within the air and technical ability. He has been highly regarded in Brazil for years. Indeed, he was named within the national Under-15 squad and scored four goals in three matches in the 2017 South American Championship at that standard. Of course, having come through Santos’ youth system; he has also been inevitably likened to Neymar due to his quick feet.

The name Santos is synonymous with youth production. From the club that gave rise to Pele, the number of superstars that have emerged from Vila Belmiro within the last 20 years is staggering. From the likes of Robinho, Elano and Diego within the early 2000s, to the wonder boy Neymar bringing home the Libertadores in 2011, and more recently Gabigol and Rodrygo going for huge sums, it’s not just quantity but quality also.

The next craque to assume the mantle of Santos’ latest wonder kid? Breakthrough 19-year-old strike sensation Kaio Jorge. Born within the north-eastern coastal town of Olinda and on the books of the Peixe since he was 10, Kaio has been highly rated for quite a while but a flurry of interest from the likes of Juventus, Milan, Benfica and an entire host of other clubs has seen him firmly thrust into the limelight.

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Kaio became the club’s sixth youngest debutant when he made his debut in September 2018 but it had been for the Brazil U17s where he made his true breakthrough. His five goals in seven games, including one within the final, spearheaded Brazil to victory within the U17 World Cup last year and he was also awarded the tournament’s, Bronze Boot. His rise has continued this year as he became more of a first-team regular and scored his first goal for Santos in his Copa Libertadores debut against Defensa y Justicia.

A lot of media outlets have dubbed Kaio the ‘next Cristiano Ronaldo’ but these comparisons are wide of the mark. apart from the unfairness of judging him against one among the game’s all-time greats, neither Kaio’s style of play nor physical attributes bear much resemblance to the Portuguese superstar and this supposed likeness seems to possess purely been drummed up by the links to Juventus or some creative licence by well-known agent Giuliano Bertolucci, who represents a stable of Brazilian internationals.

The temptation to ascribe lazy parallels to former Santos graduates should be avoided and by an equivalent token, it might be wrong to match him to the likes of Neymar or Robinho. the closest equivalent would presumably be Gabriel Barbosa but the subsequent analysis will show why we should always be focussing on Kaio and not who he might remind us of.

While he has shown much promise, he has not made the explosive start to his career that the Paris Saint-Germain man did and ranks modestly among his Serie A peers in terms of raw statistics. Any club is buying him for the potential that would be unlocked.

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