With all the focus on games coming thick and fast in MLS' regular season, NYCFC's big-money capture of Brazil youth international Talles Magno has almost flown under the radar.
But NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila certainly isn't underselling his newest talent after the 18-year-old's reported $8 million transfer from Vasco da Gama.
“He’s a very talented boy," Deila told media on a virtual press conference. "We have really good scouts who know what they’re doing. ... He has the potential to play in the big leagues for big teams and already at the age of 18 he’ll be an important player for us. That says something about his talent.”
Magno will be available to debut on Saturday against LAFC (5 pm ET | Unimas, TUDN, Twitter), but as he continues to recover from an injury, Deila cautioned he won't be ready for more than 10 or 15 minutes if he does get his debut.
Possessing plenty of top-flight experience despite his young age, Magno broke into Vasco's first team in 2019 and has made 61 senior appearances. He also has five goals in 10 appearances with Brazil’s U-17 national team and would expect to be involved with the U-20s moving forward.
“When NYCFC presented me the opportunity to play here, I did not think twice," Magno said through a translator. "I wanted to come here to learn and live new things."
Magno has most often played on the left wing in his young career but can also play through the center or on the right. His versatility will be welcomed in New York, giving Deila plenty of options to mix and match a talented group of attackers that includes Taty Castellanos, fellow Brazilians Heber and Thiago Andrade, as well as Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Jesus Medina.
"He’s come very far at 18 years old, but we have to understand he's just 18 years old," Deila said. "There’s a difference between being one of the most talented 18-year-old boys and a top international star, so he still has a long way to go to reach his potential. But that [potential] is what’s so interesting with Talles."
“I don’t think being in MLS would jeopardize any [Brazil national team] call-ups in the future," Magno said. "As long as I keep playing well, and playing happy soccer as I like to call it, my game is a happy game. As long as I’m playing well, that wouldn’t jeopardize it.”
Happy soccer. Spoken like a true Samba star. The clip below encapsulates what he means.
“My biggest inspiration is Ronaldo, the phenomenon," Magno said. "I never got to see him live but I watched him a lot of YouTube and studied his game. He’s been a big influence for me.”
Not a bad inspiration to have for a rising Brazilian forward.