Ronaldinho’s 14-year-old son has been tipped to reach Cruzeiro’s first team after signing his first professional contract with the Brazilian club.
Joao Mendes, whose dad is former Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldinho, plays as a centre forward or just off the striker.
And there appear to be high hopes for the youngster, with Cruzeiro’s director of grassroots football Amarildo Roberio claiming Mendes has ‘high technical quality’, versatility, pace and deadly finishing.
Roberio told the club’s website: “Today, we signed the contract of Joao Mendes, who is a promising player with interesting characteristics and who, I believe, will soon be integrating with our professional team.
“He is a tall player with high technical quality. A player who can play both as a box player and as a second striker. He is a player who, even with his size, has speed and finishes very well.”
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Mendes has been with Cruzeiro for a year. but on signing his pro deal he said: “It was the team that opened the door for me. I have a great affection for the club.
“The training is very good, the structure is very good. It’s the biggest club in Brazil and it’s a pleasure to play here.
“It’s a very happy day. Thanks to the board for the confidence you have given to me. I also thank God for me being able to play every day.
“It is a dream that one day I can sign the professional contact with Cruzeiro, play professionally, score a goal in the crowded Mineirao and dedicate it to the fans.”
It is understood Mendes did not say he was Ronaldinho’s son when he first joined the club in a bid to impress on his own merits.
Ronaldinho had a glittering career – winning the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and playing for big clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan.
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