Every week at The Center Circle, we are highlighting a different player in a feature we call “On the Spot”. We’ll take a look at superstars, underrated gems, aging veterans, and young unknowns who should be known. We’ll peruse their club and international careers, taking note of their teams, statistics, and highlight reels. We’ll illuminate their strengths and weaknesses and comment on their personalities and reputations. It will be some fun. If there is anyone you want to see “On the Spot”, feel free to comment below.

Douglas Costa

Douglas Costa on Gremio

Over the past several seasons, Bayern Munich have reestablished their position as one of the titans of Europe. The Bavarians boast one of the most talented rosters in the world, and over the summer they added one of the most coveted names on the transfer market: Douglas Costa. The move to the Allianz Arena was the first time Costa has plied his trade in one of the major world leagues, but so far it looks like he can handle the test.

Good Morning Grêmio

After a brief stint with Novo Hamburgo’s youth system, an 11-year-old Dougas Costa moved to Grémio’s academy. The young winger would spend seven years working his way through various youth teams before finally making his professional debut in October 2008. Costa could not have asked for a better introduction into the senior ranks as he scored the opener against Botafogo. The 18-year-old would go on to feature in the club’s next five matches in the Brazilian top division, but he was unable to rediscover his scoring touch.

In his second year with the first team, Costa was unable to solidify a regular starting role in the squad, and 10 of his 22 appearances came as a substitute. Despite the increase in playing time, the Brazilian winger was unable to top his goal tally from the previous season. This lack of scoring did little to decrease the interest that Costa was getting from abroad, and several clubs were chomping at the bit to bring in this young Brazilian prospect.

Welcome to the Ukraine

Douglas Costa with Shakhtar Donetsk

After just two years as a professional, Douglas Costa made the move to Europe. Shakhtar Donetsk picked up the 20-year-old winger in the January transfer window for the remainder of the 2009/10 campaign. Costa debuted for his new Ukranian club as a substitute during the club’s Round of 32 Europa League match against Fulham. The Brazilian was unable to save Shakhtar from defeat at Craven Cottage, but in the return leg at the Donbass Arena, Costa supplied an assist for the club’s only goal.

After getting eliminated by Fulham in the Round of 32, Costa would go on to make 13 appearances in the Ukrainian Premier League. In his half season in Shakhtar, the Brazilian managed to net five goals, while also helping push the club to its fifth league title. The early piece of silverware would be the first of many trophies the Brazilian would earn at his new home.

In Costa’s first full year at the Donbass Arena, he would almost immediately find a place in Mircea Lucescu’s first team lineup. The Brazilian appeared in all but three of Shakhtar’s league fixtures in the 2010/11 campaign and he matched his first year goal tally with five goals. The Ukranian club’s success the prior campaign also provided Costa with the opportunity to showcase his talents in the Champions League. The 21-year-old winger made ten appearances in the prestigious competition, scoring two goals along the way before getting knocked out by eventual champions Barcelona in the quarterfinals. When the season came to an end, Costa added a second consecutive league title to his trophy cabinet along with a Ukranian Cup and Super Cup.

The trophies kept coming for Costa in the Ukranian League and every year seemed to come with more interest from other European suitors. In his next three seasons in Shakhtar, Costa would win three more league titles, two more Ukranian Cups and another two Super Cups. From the midfield, the Brazilian would score 16 goals in league competition, but he was never able to push the club past the quarterfinals in European competition.

Bavaria’s Best

Bayern's Douglas Costa

After an immensely successful five years in the Ukranian Premier League, Douglas Costa finally made the move to one of Europe’s biggest and best clubs: Bayern Munich. The move to the Allianz Arena has done little to damper the 25-year-old’s creativity and flair. Pep Guardiola has immediately placed his new Brazilian winger in the club’s starting lineup alongside the likes of Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski and Thiago Alcântara. In his first seven competitive matches for Bayern, Costa has scored once while providing two assists.

International Career

Despite being a part of Shakhtar’s first team for several years, Douglas Costa did not earn a call up to the Brazilian National Team until after the 2014 World Cup. The winger was able to impress the national team’s newest coach, Dunga, in the coming months and eventually earned himself a call-up for the 2015 Copa América. In his first appearance of the tournament, Costa came on as a late substitute against Peru and ended up scoring a stoppage time winner. The Bayern midfielder would make three appearances in the tournament all as a substitute. To date, Costa has made just ten international appearances with just the lone goal against Peru.

Style of Play

Douglas Costa provides the traditional Brazilian flair to whatever side he lines up on. His position on the wing allows him to isolate defenders in one-on-one situations before flashing his tricks and skills to get past them. These moves allow the Brazilian to deliver crosses into the penalty area and with a forward like Robert Lewandowski in the box, these deliveries can be lethal. However, this flair has gotten Costa into hot water with teammates recently after a perfectly executed rainbow flick against Bayer Leverkusen. Arjen Robben told reporters that while these tricks excite the crowd, they “belong in the circus.” Costa refuted these claims by saying that Guardiola gave him creative freedom on the ball. The Brazilian should continue to excite fans in Munich, and it seems like he’s already an instant hit at the Allianz.


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