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Avon Barksdale

Manchester Uniteds Brazillian Academy

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I thought we had a feeder club out there didnt realize it was an academy, anyone know a lot about it.Do we pay for it to be run?It says we have first choose so that means other teams can buy the players aswell?Why not focus on getting better British players first instead of having a team full of Brazillians?

Inside the Reds' talent factoryA SWIFT turn, bouncing balls off the walls and then they are out on to the south American surface heading for the Theatre of Teens.This is the first time access has been granted to Manchester United's academy project in Brazil, a multi-million pound investment cut deep into Sao Paulo's crusty terrain.Just three months into this amazing programme they opened their doors, giving Sport of the World the freedom to walk around this first-class facility 90 minutes outside the city limits.It is here that the 108 teenagers, some of them with posters of Cristiano Ronaldo on the walls of their dormitories, dream of earning a multi-million pound move to Old Trafford. United have first option to sign the youngsters for a pre-agreed, fixed fee after signing a partnership agreement with Desportivo Brasil earlier this year."If one player is considered good enough to move to Manchester United, it will prove we are doing the right thing and heading in the right direction," claimed academy manager Rodolfo Canavesi.They can only move if they meet stringent work permit requirements by making progress through various age groups with the Brazilian national side, or qualifying for a European passport.Kids like Diego, who scored a typical Brazilian goal by fading a long-range strike past the keeper in an Under-17 game against GR Barueri last weekend, could be United's future.Others, such as Junior, Cabeca, Emerson and Augusto, could all become household names, wearing United's red shirt and earning £150,000-a-week.These starry-eyed youngsters go to bed at night dreaming of a call from Sir Alex Ferguson, a lucrative contract and the chance to play in the Champions League against Barcelona, Real Madrid and AC Milan.Ferguson demands regular updates from the club's head of player recruitment Geoff Watson, monitoring their progress as part of Manchester United's masterplan.United's academy director Brian McClair has visited the project, passing on tips to the young players.McClair was in Northern Ireland last month to watch them compete in the Milk Cup. It was an opportunity to witness the progress of Brazil's brightest talent in tournament conditions.There are already plans in place for United to send their academy teams to Sao Paulo to play in a tournament next year.Brazilian football's top clubs sell their stars early, unable to compete with the salaries on offer in Europe. Kaka left Sao Paulo for Milan at 21, Robinho was sold by Santos at the same age and the Silva twins signed for United when they were only 17.The entire project is entirely within FIFA rules, with United providing technical support, mentoring the kids as they progress through the academy and offering the prospect of playing for United's first team.Some of the best young players have already visited Carrington for a look around the dressing rooms where they could touch the shirts of Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand.They have all been cherry-picked by Desportivo Brasil, who are owned by Brazilian sports marketing firm Traffic, as part of a plan to prepare them for a career in Europe.These talented Brazilians stay at the academy, where they live and breathe the beautiful game, walking past inspirational pictures of Aldair, Rivelino, Tostao, Zico and Pele on their way to training.When they leave their fancy footwork behind on the five training pitches, they are powering up in the gym by following tailored weight-training programmes, specifically designed with the combative nature of European football in mind.Desportivo's Under-15 team is already much stronger physically than their rivals at Corinthians, Sao Paulo or Cruzeiro. In the afternoons they take English lessons, preparing them for a future playing football abroad, joining the 300 or so Brazilians currently at clubs in Europe.Their schooling, accommodation at the academy and nutrition is taken care of, all paid for and monitored meticulously by the money-men at Desportivo Brasil."If they don't make it as professional footballers with United, they will have a second language and that will open up other opportunities for them," added Canavesi."For a Brazilian who can speak English, it means they can instantly get work in hotels, they can work in business, finance or another area."For many of these kids this is the chance to leave behind the favelas, the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre or Sao Paulo, and become the darling of the Stretford End. "This is the key to a better life for them and their families," said Canavesi.On hand at the academy are four coaches for each category (Under-15, Under-17, Under-19 and professional), four fitness coaches, four goalkeeping coaches, four masseurs and two kitmen.Off the field the players rely on the advice of a nutritionist, a psychologist, three full-time physios, two physiologists and a doctor.The facilities are so high-spec that professional teams playing in Sao Paulo stay at the academy instead of city centre hotels.United's highly-respected South American relationship manager John Calvert-Toulmin politely declined a request to talk about the partnership, citing a clause in his contract that prevents him discussing club business.Desportivo's young players are also protected from the media spotlight, sidestepping various interview requests in order to concentrate on their career.The management at Desportivo Brasil are open, playing it by the book as they sign up the superstars who will one day follow the path of Kaka, Pato and Robinho.They are currently top of the Sao Paulo State Championship in each age category, quickly establishing themselves as a major force in Brazilian football.Of the 108 players contracted to Desportivo, two of them were recommended to the club by United as outstanding talents.There are no guarantees that they will make the move abroad, but two bottles of champagne are already being chilled in the first floor fridge. After this, it's only a matter of time before someone pops the cork.

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