Luan Guilherme de Jesus Vieira, a 24 years old Brazilian, was named the best football player in America in 2017. The forward of Grêmio from Brazil won the award given by the newspaper El País of Uruguay, over the Peruvian Paolo Guerrero and the Brazilian Arthur. Luan won the award whit 49,46 % of the votes, leaving Paolo Guerrero from Flamengo in second place whit the 17,66 % in the elections. In third place, it was Arthur from Grêmio whit the 12,50 % of the votes.
Luan was a key player in the Grêmio of Brazil throughout the season, helping his team to become champions of the Copa Libertadores de América. In this competition, his team defeated Club Atlético Lanús of Argentina. His leadership and goals in the tournament helped advance the team several times. Luan scored eight goals in the tournament, being the second top scorer. One of those goals was achieved in the final match, which finally gave the title to the Porto Alegre´s team after 22 years.
Luan also had an outstanding performance in the Club World Cup, a competition in which Grêmio finished second after being defeated by Real Madrid. Luan also enjoyed a few minutes whit the National Team of Brazil, where he hopes to have a bigger role in 2018.
The prize “King of America” is an award given since 1971, and originally it was awarded by the newspaper El Mundo, from Venezuela. However, since 1986 the award is given by the Uruguayan newspaper El País, based on the opinion of around 300 expert journalist from the region. In the 2017 edition the record of votes was broken, whit 368 in total, exceeding in 58 to the 31st edition of the previous year´s survey.
Luan won the award for the first time in his career and he became the tenth Brazilian to achieve this recognition. He also managed to make Brazil the country that won the prize on more occasions, having achieved it in 19 opportunities.
The newspaper El País of Uruguay also awarded the Brazilian Tite as America´s best coach in 2017. Tite, who began his career as technical director in 1990, came to the Brazilian national team in 2016. He managed to lift the pool level of play of the five-time champion of the world, leading him to be ranked first in the South American qualifiers to the World Cup Russia 2018. The Argentine coach Ricardo Gareca, who returned the National Team of Peru to a World Cup after 36 years, came in second place in the voting.
The recognition of the best of America in 2017 came full of emotion and many expectations, but what it is undeniable is that winners had dreams seasons whit each if their clubs.
South America continues to prepare its players, their clubs, and their national teams to return to the top of global football. The club world cup and the national team’s world cup are two competitions that have been elusive for America in recent times, but the Latin persistence promises that it will fight to rise again whit these glorious trophies.
Latin American Post | Javier Aldana
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza