“The Underrated” is a series in which we look at great players in world football who don’t, for whatever reason, get the deserved attention from fans and media alike. These are, of course, personal opinions. First up is Brazil and Lazio playmaker Hernanes…
In a league filled with Pirlo, Vidal and numerous other fantastic midfielders, it is not that much of a surprise that some get forgotten about when discussing the premier midfield talent in the league. One of the many forgotten about is Lazio playmaker Hernanes, a player rated as the most promising in world football in 2009 by The Times. Here is more on this underrated star:
CAREER SO FAR
Hernanes joined the Sao Paulo academy in 2001 and progressed to first team level in 2005. He had a loan spell at fellow Brazilian side Santo Andre in 2006 before he returned to help Sao Paulo to the league title in 2007 and 2008 and was named the Brazilian Footballer of the Year in 2008. His form at Sao Paulo led to a move to European and Italian giants Lazio in August 2010 (later than some thought he would leave Brazil). Hernanes quickly became central to Lazio’s team in the middle of the park by getting assists and chipping in with goals. Hernanes’ made his Brazil debut in 2008 but has only made 17 appearances for the national team due to not being picked by previous managers and the need for Brazilian central midfielders to be defensively minded.
Hernanes has many strengths to his game. He is one of the few genuinely two footed players in world football and has shown the ability to conjure up something magical with either. He has an excellent range of passing as well as the ability to dictate the tempo of a game and is central to Lazio in an attacking sense as he provides that little bit of extra magic. He is also an adept set piece taker and is capable of scoring free kicks from anywhere as well as being an excellent penalty taker. Hernanes is, unusually for a Brazilian playmaker, able to handle himself physically as well and is a hard worker for the team.
Perhaps the only real downside for Hernanes is his defensive abilities. While he is capable of playing as the deep lying playmaker for a team, he does not provide as much defensive cover as some other players. This is the main reason for his cap count being so low as he is often left out for players like Luiz Gustavo or Paulinho who are able to provide that extra bit of defensive cover.
Overall, Hernanes is one of the most complete footballers in the world today and it is such a shame that he is not given the full recognition he deserves. He plays for quite an unfashionable club (no offence to Lazio) and perhaps this does not help him get recognition. He is also harmed by the fact that he is good at most things rather than being great at one thing which perhaps in the eyes of the fans and media means that he gets looked on as an OK player. However, he is clearly adored by Lazio management as they are refusing to sell him in the face of interest from PSG and Bayern Munich amongst others which is much deserved for an outstanding player.
There is the first underrated player in the series. Please feel free to leave feedback either here, on Twitter or via email (info is in the about section) and, of course, send in your suggestions for future underrated players in the series.