K.Ayky is one of the hottest traits in Brazilian football. The 17-year-old signed for Manchester City last month and will join his new teammates next January after finishing the season with Fluminense. He has already made a name for himself in Brazil, scoring goals for Fluminense at the state championships in Rio and is the club’s youngest debutant and youngest scorer in the Copa Libertadores.

The transfer marks a change in approach for the Premier League champions. Manchester City are now going the Real Madrid route to attract young talent from Brazil before they have fully developed. The club have also signed 18-year-old midfielder Diego Rosa, who is currently on loan with Lommel, City’s Belgian sister club, and right-back Yan Couto, who won the U17 World Cup and was loaned to Girona. another association under the roof of the city. While Real Madrid paid £ 40m to sign Vinicius Jr. and £ 39m to sign Rodrygo, City appears to have gotten a bargain and handed Kayky £ 8m initially, with add-ons depending on how he feels further developed.

The teenager who can play on both wings but starts more on the right and cuts inward on his left foot – hence the nickname “Neymar with the left foot” – has made the dream of most Brazilian teenagers a reality. However, according to his parents Demir and Monica, his heart was initially focused on another profession. “He always wanted to be a pediatrician, but because he was a hyperactive kid, we wanted him to put his energy into exercise. Since he always went to the soccer stadium with his father from the age of two, he was enchanted by soccer and his birthday presents turned into balls, jerseys and themed parties. “

Kayky’s talent was discovered by a family friend who saw him in action for his school and advised his parents to take him to Fluminense for a trial. But the season was already on and the club had filled its rooms so the door closed. Kayky’s father Demir mentioned his predicament to a friend at a local bar, and the man mentioned that his son was playing for a team in Mangueira – a social project launched in 2016 on the grounds of the Olympic Village for the Games. Demir and Kayky went there and found a home.

Kayky passed his exam with flying colors and was accepted into the Mangueira U9 team. As fate would have it, his first game was against Fluminense. He scored a hat trick in a 5-3 win and impressed the flu coaches so much that they signed him straight away.

Success came quickly at Flu, where he won several futsal titles over the course of his academy. “Year after year, he continued to develop on and off the field and matured as a person and football player,” says Guilherme Torres, his U17 coach at Flu. “For his achievements in the past season and all the conquests of the U17 team, there were new challenges and opportunities in life. The club understood that Kayky had reached a level of maturity to experience professional football in a competitive way. However, we are also aware that he still has a lot of room for development and adjustment in order to reach professional football at the highest level. “

How a Brazilian child prodigy will develop when he crosses the Atlantic is unclear, but his parents believe he has the maturity necessary to take such a big step. They attribute his success so far to his “focus and determination” and say that he “always tried hard to achieve and exceed his goals”. Monica and Demir say their son is already taking English classes to make their adjustment easier.

Kayky celebrates after scoring Fluminense in the Copa Libertadores. Photo: Santiago Arcos / EPA

Although they couldn’t afford to buy a car to drive him to games and instead relied on elevators and public transportation, Kayky’s parents – and his grandmother in particular, took care of him before and after training and made his food – was crucial in his trajectory. “We always support and encourage him to make his dreams come true, eat well, sleep early, and elude various things in order to make his dream come true,” they say.

His parents are proud of their son, not just his success in the field. He’s a good student who always got high marks, is with a friend, enjoys family outings, and goes to the beach in his spare time.

For Kayky, his main motivation has always been to repay his family for their support and give them the life they deserve. “I’ve always dreamed of being able to help my family,” he says. “It has been a dream I’ve had since I was a child, to offer a better future to everyone who helped me get where I am. It was very motivating for me. It has given me a lot of strength in my daily life. “Every time he scores he pays homage to his father Demir with his ‘mustache’ goal celebration.

Kayky says he’s surprised he’s achieved so much at his age, “even though I believe in myself as much as I do”. “I am so happy that, so young, I can already help my team and have a great season with Fluminense. Older players like Fred and Nenê have helped me a lot and have given me a lot of good advice on the pitch – for example, where to position myself. “

Fluminense also played a major role in its development. “I’ve always had an excellent relationship with Kayky,” says Torres. “I knew him for many years before I was his coach. We also have a very active psychological, educational and social department at our academy to help the boys. During my time with him, I tried to get him to think about where he wanted to go in his career and what to rely on to achieve that goal. We have always tried to develop certain aspects of his game, such as the ability to score and score goals. I’ve always tried to be a positive reference for him by working with him on his personal and professional development. “

“We recently talked about what happened in his life. After his goal against Nova Iguaçu, he was with Xerém [Fluminense’s academy] and we had the opportunity to talk about the dynamics of his football and the changes in his life. I will always cheer him on to be a great player and a positive reference for Xerém’s next kids.

“Kayky is characterized by his intelligence, his technical skills and his speed. Its main virtues are control of the ball, dribbling and powerful finishing. I haven’t seen a change in his football, but rather an adaptation to the context of the professional game where he has to read, think and act faster to escape the physical effects of stronger and more experienced players. He succeeds in adapting himself more and more to this context game after game. “

All of this will then serve him well when playing under one of the most demanding managers in football in one of the most demanding leagues.

This is an article from Yellow & Green Football
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