So far in his career, Roberto Firmino has frequently been overlooked by fans and pundits alike, often overshadowed by flashier (if not better) players in his immediate vicinity.
Despite playing alongside Egyptian King Mohamed Salah, and the second-most-talked-about Brazilian behind Philippe Coutinho, Firmino is finally getting his due praise. And this time, that praise is coming from Tite, the 56-year-old manager for the Brazilian national team.
“I can see Firmino playing with (Gabriel) Jesus,” Tite said in an interview. “Firmino is originally a 10 who always played with a nine. He is a 10 who learned how to play a nine.
“Brazil has lacked alternatives in previous World Cups and it cost us big. That’s why I want to use (Philippe) Coutinho in midfield, Willian as winger, playing with Firmino and Jesus together.
“We must enter the competition with preparation for any situation.
“Coutinho as the orchestrator of midfield with Willian on the wing is a possibility. So is playing Jesus and Firmino on top.
”A front four of Coutinho and Neymar as playmakers behind the two strikers (Jesus and Firmino) could be our solution against opponents sitting deep.”
Turns out a World Cup year is a good one to have a breakout season. Firmino’s 22 goals so far equals his best season at Hoffenheim, and it’s not even March yet. And if these quotes are any indication, he could be adding a few international goals to his name as a Brazilian striker this summer.
Hopefully Firmino finishes out this season firing on all cylinders, to really give Tite, and the rest of the world, something to think about.