Last summer, I spent an inordinate amount of time Googling “Oscar” in an attempt to learn about the player Chelsea was going to sign. Sadly, with a common name, it always took longer than Drogba (who comes up within a few key strokes) and his birth year (1991) became key to finding him. After enough clicks, I learned his full name was Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Júnior and was able to familiarize myself with him.
After watching enough of his YouTube clips, I was ready to support his (in my mind) controversial decision to wear Drogba’s #11. [Side Note: I love Drogba. It was Drogba that first lead me to support Chelsea. He was exciting, played with a flair, and always came up big. I love Drogba the man, the closest thing to a “hero” an athlete has come since Jackie Robinson. So, Oscar wearing #11 a few months post-Munich was tough.] What those YouTube clips told me was that Chelsea was getting an exceptional player, more than a few years before his prime. And, after his rocket vs. Juve, I couldn’t help but salivate at the prospect of the newly dubbed MaZaCar dominating the BPL midfield for the coming years in a dynamic way.
But, what the YouTube clips, and the early golazo, did was distort my view of what a player Oscar was. I had marginalized him to be a stereotypical, flashy, one direction, Brazilian (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). And, even after a full 2012-2013 campaign (remember he is 21), I still had him pegged as a paint by numbers attacking Brazilian.
I held this belief until I watched him play heavy minutes for Brazil during the Confederations Cup. During their run to the Championship, Neymar and Fred garnered ALL of the attention (and much of it warranted), but a closer examination of each match showed Oscar to their best two way player, yes, maybe even more than our beloved Geezer. That was the Oscar on display this Sunday against Hull… he was everywhere. Scoring, creating, and disrupting Hull’s attempt to get back in the match. It was a masterful performance and one I think we should all start getting used to. Maybe Wednesday against Villa or Monday against United, keep a close eye on Oscar when the opposition has the ball. He may open your eyes in a way you weren’t expecting.