How Flamengo helped Michael bounce back from adversity
Michael has become a top goal-scorer in the 2021 Brasileirão season. He experienced some mental health struggles in the past but Flamengo helped him bounce back. He was in a dark place but with his efforts on the pitch, he has become the darling of the crowd.
This season has been a strong campaign for Michael. He trails only Hulk in the goal-scoring race. He is doing this mainly as a reserve which is fantastic for Flamengo since they’ve needed another option aside from the trio of Pedro, Bruno Henrique, and Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa.
Michael is one of Renato Gaúcho’s best weapons in the squad. It is a shame that Gaúcho was only hired midway into the 2021 season because Rogério Ceni struggled to keep a balanced rotation. The former manager was not helping his team reach their potential which led to his sacking. They were in a hole back then which they’ve crawled out of but Atlético Mineiro might be too far to reach now.
Flamengo gave Michael the best opportunities
While Michael has earned some starting nods this season, he still doesn’t consider himself as a top star for the team. He is the squad’s best goalscorer this season but he still wants to play a role. Michael knows that Gabi is the team’s best player and he is the striker who acts as the reserve.
Michael loves playing with ‘crazy’ energy which has translated to solid results. He knows that he can play with a strong personality as he can surprise defenders. He said, ‘Out of nowhere, I make a train that I don't even know and it happens. When the guy is confident, he does things that he doesn't even know. If I don't even know where I'm going to cut, how will the marker know?’.
Flamengo has been better when Michael is playing. Gaúcho can mix minutes between Gabi and Michael which is why they’re a stronger team now. It is interesting that their chemistry has not been shown just yet because Michael wants to play with solid energy alongside the Brazilian international.
Michael is happy at Flamengo
While Michael has been awesome this season, he revels in his role as a reserve. He is happy with his place in the squad. He has received some criticism throughout his career and it has not affected him one bit. He knows that he can play at a high level every game but when he doesn’t play well, he does not rely on the fans to tell him what went wrong. As a player, he already knows what happened and he’s ready to fix it, the next time he’s on the pitch.
Michael talked about how he’s feeling with the club. He said, ‘The affection that this club here placed in me, together with my faith and dedication, allowed me to deliver the best. I'm not a guy who thinks individually, I think collectively. I want to win even or odd or Libertadores, but respecting everyone and the bad times. I will never make mistakes wanting to make mistakes, I want to get it right. I want to get it right so much, sometimes I'm going to get it wrong’.
The future is bright for Michael and if he can continue playing this way, you can expect that he will have a stronger season when he becomes a regular alongside Gabi and Bruno in the first XI.
Words: Cholo Martin