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Red-hot Talisca rides to rescue

China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-29 09:32
Anderson Talisca celebrates scoring in Guangzhou Evergrande's 4-1 Chinese Super League victory over Shandong Luneng on Saturday in Jinan, Shandong province. [Photo/IC]

Brazilian midfielder's prolific scoring breathing new life into Evergrande

Anderson Talisca is ripping it up in the Chinese Super League (CSL), sniping 11 goals in eight games since joining Guangzhou Evergrande to show why he was on Jose Mourinho's radar.

The attacking midfielder, along with fellow Brazilian Paulinho, has rescued Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro's job while also breathing fresh life into Guangzhou's faltering title defense.

The 24-year-old Talisca, who was reportedly a target for Manchester United manager Mourinho earlier this summer, instead signed with Cannavaro's side on a six-month loan from Benfica in June.

Since then, he has been the hottest player in China, also clocking up four assists to help lift Guangzhou back into the title race with a third of the season remaining.

Talisca, who has played for Brazil's under-23s but is yet to make his full international debut, was at it again last weekend, scoring twice in a 4-1 away win at title rival Shandong Luneng.

Also strongly linked with Liverpool during the summer, the 1.91-meter (6-foot-2) Talisca has been so prolific that Chinese fans have nicknamed him the "Guangzhou Tower" after the futuristic spire that dominates the southern city's skyline.

Following his latest heroics, Guangzhou Daily called Talisca, who dyes his dark hair, "the iconic white-haired Brazilian."

His goal rate has been "staggering", said the newspaper, adding that Brazilian international and fellow new signing Paulinho has also become "an indispensable core figure" for Cannavaro.

For his sixth-minute opener on Saturday, Talisca got the ball deep, surged past three weak challenges and then rifled home from outside the box with his left foot.

Tencent Sports called Talisca "a nightmare for Shandong's defense" and Chinese media acclaimed his immediate impact since arriving from Portugal.

No regrets

Talisca hopes to catch the eye of Brazil coach Tite.

"Sure, at first you have that fear, uncertainty," the heavily tattooed Talisca told Brazilian media outlet Globo of his move to China.

"But I do not regret anything. As I said, I came here to evolve, not just for the money."

Talisca, who would command a transfer fee of at least $30 million to join permanently from Benfica, started his career at Bahia in Brazil before joining the Portuguese giant in July 2014.

He was loaned to Besiktas in August 2016 and spent a fruitful two years in Turkey, scoring 37 goals in 80 appearances.

Despite media speculation that he could go to the English Premier League, Talisca surprisingly showed up in July in southern China along with Paulinho, who returned to Guangzhou on loan from Barcelona. Critics have said money was the main lure.

When the CSL went on a two-month break for the World Cup in June-July, Guangzhou-chasing an eighth title-was toiling under Cannavaro and in real danger of falling out of the championship race.

But fast-forward a few weeks, and Guangzhou is third in the CSL, just three points behind leader Beijing Guo'an with a game in hand.

Carry on like this and both Mourinho-whose United woes were compounded by a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham on Monday-and Tite might just yet come knocking for Talisca.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 

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