World Cup One to Watch: Renato Augusto – Brazil
Like Paulinho, Renato Augusto has shown it possible to stay in the Brazilian national team despite making a move to the Chinese Super League
With the likes of Manchester City’s Fernandinho and Real Madrid’s Casemiro both battling for the midfield anchor role, his place in the team remains far from certain. Add to this the recent injury which has hindered his preparation for the World Cup and it makes grim reading for the 30-year-old.
However, Augusto is a player who Brazilian manager, Tite, knows well and trusts from their time together at Corinthians. Augusto is also a player who has shown a unique level of maturity on the biggest stages in the past.
As an 18-year-old he played the Copa do Brasil Final at the Maracana, lining up for Flamenco as their playmaker against fierce rivals Vasco da Gama. Not only did he help his side to victory, he took the intimidating atmosphere in his stride and was one of the matches standout players.
Having brought calm maturity to Brazil’s impressive qualifying campaign, Tite’s faith in him was well repaid and his loyalty to his players could see him once more become the player he depends on in Russia.
Past Season: Beijing Sinobo Guoan FC
Having moved to China in January 2016, Augusto is currently approaching the midway point of his third season with the Yù LínJūn (The Imperial Guards). As one of the four designated foreign players for Beijing Guoan and the team’s vice-captain, the 30-year-old Brazilian is helping the team make a concerted push for the title this season.
After finishing placed in 9th of the top division’s 16 teams last year, the pre-season additions of Jonathan Viera from Las Palmas and Cédric Bakambu from Villarreal have certainly boosted the club’s health. However, with only one defeat from their first 11 matches, Beijing have found success from their defensive stability as much as through their new attacking flair.
Making his debut in a friendly against France in 2011, a 1-0 defeat in which they ended the game with 10-men, Augusto played well in a steady way rather than setting the game alight. His international career was cut short by a series of injuries soon after and he then found it hard to re-establish himself in the team.
In 2015, Augusto scored the first of his five international goals to date to help the side to a convincing 3-0 qualification win over Peru. With Tite being named the new Brazilian manager in 2016, his place became cemented in the national side.
It was also at this time that Augusto moved to play in the Chinese Super League, however; he became a fundamental component in Tite’s revolution nonetheless.
As a player whose game is built around tactical awareness, Augusto also has an impeccably proficient technical ability which has become expected of Brazilian players. While he played in the number ten position during his four years at Bayer Leverkusen, it was Tite who adapted his game to the meio-campista role.
His lack of flair meant he was a better fit as the technical midfielder while his intelligence and maturity saw him excel in that position.
From here, Augusto proved to be the glue needed to restore unison to an inconsistent Brazil side. The player who covers the cracks left behind by the forward surges of those around him, his intrinsic understanding of Tite’s footballing philosophy makes him a crucial part of this Brazilian side.
Listen to the RealSport football writers discuss Group B in Kremlins in the Basement: RealSport’s daily World Cup podcast.