This scout report is written by guest writer Gui Melo.
Rodrigo Caio is a 20 years old defensive midfielder from Brazil, who plays for São Paulo F.C. since he was 11 years old. His debut for São Paulo’s senior team was on June 26th 2011, at the age of 17 against one of São Paulo’s biggest rivals, Corinthians. Unfortunately for São Paulo and for the young debutant, Corinthians was on an inspired afternoon that day and ended up beating São Paulo by 5×0, however Rodrigo Caio played a couple more games as a professional that year and the good performances he had in 2011 established himself as an important player for the 2012 season with São Paulo. At the beginning of the 2012 season, Rodrigo Caio proved to be a versatile player when Ney Franco, São Paulo’s manager at the time, improvised him on the right wing due to the bad performances that the Paraguayan Ivan Piris had that year as a right-winger. Although Rodrigo Caio was not playing in his original position, which is defensive midfield, he played well as a winger showing a lot of quality in his passes, crosses and positioning. After São Paulo signed Douglas as a right-winger in February 2012, Rodrigo Caio went back to playing defensive midfield, playing a total of 20 games that season. As a midfielder Rodrigo Caio is a good tackler and knows how to position himself very well on the field making it hard for the opponents to set counter attacks without being stopped or at least slowed down by him. One of his weaknesses in the midfield is that he is slow and doesn’t connect the midfield with the offense with efficiency, slowing the team down sometimes.
In the current 2013 season Rodrigo Caio is once again showing a lot of versatility as a football player. Since Paulo Miranda (centre back) got injured, São Paulo’s manager Paulo Autuori improvised Rodrigo Caio in the defense and he has played in every game since Paulo Autuori took the post of manager on July 11th of 2013. As a defender Rodrigo Caio shows good skill heading and anticipating the ball and although it is not his original position he seems extremely confident playing as a defender just as he is playing as a midfielder. He has earned more than once this year the title of best player in the game by one of Brazil’s most respected sports newspaper Lance, and has gained Paulo Autuori’s complete trust playing as a midfielder or as a defender. On March 20th he scored his first goal as professional which highlighted even more his good performances this season, and he scored a header on August 15th against Atlético-PR to tie the game on 1×1 and prevented the loss that would have hurt the team in the National Championship.
I have likened Rodrigo Caio to Ralf from Corinthians because Ralf is an expert at positioning himself in the midfield to stop counter attacks from happening and he also shows great skill tackling players cleanly to gain possession of the ball. Ralf is also not too fast of a player, however he knows how to carry the ball offensively much better than Rodrigo Caio, who can learn and perfect his game a lot by watching Ralf play.
Rodrigo Caio is definitely a promising football star that we will definitely see going to Europe soon and hopefully shine with the Brazilian National Team, but that will probably be only after the World Cup in Brazil. I wish him the best of luck in his future and in his career and hopefully he can keep playing the good football that he has been lately playing for São Paulo.