'New Ronaldinho' has trick up his sleeve for Arsenal

The Brazilian enclave in Ukraine keeps getting bigger. When the naturalised Croatian Eduardo arrived from Arsenal in the summer, he became the seventh Brazil-born player at Shakhtar Donetsk. The policy of the coach, Mircea Lucescu, is simple: eastern Europeans at the back, Brazilians at the front. The effectiveness of the plan is hard to dispute: Shakhtar won the Uefa Cup in 2009 and stand five points clear at the top of their domestic table.

The latest of the Brazilian contingent Arsenal will have to watch out for on Tuesday is Douglas Costa. The 20-year-old joined Shakhtar from Gremio for £5 million in January and came with a great reputation. It took time for him to live up to that but, this season, he has missed only one game and has been a constant threat cutting in from the right in Shakhtar's 4-2-3-1 formation.

"Before I signed my contract, I phoned Ukraine and spoke to Willian and Luiz Adriano who are both from my home town of Porto Allegre," Douglas said. "They told me I should join Shakhtar because it could be one of the strongest teams in Europe."

He is relishing the decision, gushing about how he likes hanging out in the Donetsk City mall, practising his Russian and talking about his plans to take skating lessons. Then there are the fans. "People in Ukraine are very kind and friendly," he said. "For example in Brazil when we were beaten fans would be completely silent while in Ukraine they applaud our efforts even after a defeat."

Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid were also linked with a player who has been dubbed "the new Ronaldinho". It's a nickname he relishes. "I love it when the pundits say that," he said.

"Maybe it's because we started our careers at the same club, Gremio. As human beings we are more opposite than alike, but on the pitch I can also do some tricks. Ronaldinho was my idol. He's an incredible football genius. If I could produce on the pitch something like what he does I'd be the happiest man in the world."

It may be, though, that Ukraine is not the ideal environment for tricks. "The biggest difference between football in Ukraine and Brazil is that such emphasis is placed on intensive and heavy physical preparations," Douglas said. "I understand it is very important because physical power plays a huge role during the league games as Ukrainian clubs heavily rely on it. Strict tactical discipline is another difference from my time in Brazil. The coach requires the 100 per cent fulfilment of tactical duties."

He sounds bemused by that, but his form this season suggests he has heeded the lessons and he is coming to personify the Lucescu ideal of European discipline with Brazilian flair.

Arsenal v Shakhtar Donetsk is live on Sky Sports 2 from 7.30pm on Tuesday

Suggested Topics
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links