Unknown Possebon hits headlines
Thankfully the injury suffered last week by young Manchester United midfielder Rodrigo Possebon was not as serious as first feared - which makes it easier to look on the bright side.
At the cost of pain and worry, at least the incident has done wonders for his profile back in the land of his birth.
United supporters often ask me how highly Rodrigo is regarded by the Brazilian public. The easy answer is that - until last Wednesday at least - he was not regarded at all.
Very few people over here had even heard of him, for perfectly understandable reasons.
Before his move to Manchester I don't recall him appearing in the first team of Internacional, the Porto Alegre club who produced him.
He has two compatriot team-mates in a similar situation. Full-back twins Fabio and Rafael were whisked away to Old Trafford before making it to the Fluminense starting line up. But at least their progress had been followed playing for Brazil last year in the South American Under-17 Championships, the Pan-American Games and the World Under-17 Cup.
Interestingly, Fabio looked clearly the more impressive of the two, captaining the side and scoring a river of goals from left-back. But so far his brother has had more opportunities with United - a sign that the process of adaptation can follow an unpredictable path.
It's a path, though, that an increasing number of talented South American youngsters are sure to follow - because it doesn't matter what the regulators do, the giant European clubs are going to hoover up the top players from all over the world.
Fifa's plan to restrict this process, the so-called six plus five, looks doomed to fail because it discriminates on the basis of nationality, and therefore falls foul of European Union legislation.
Uefa's more feasible counter-proposal is the obligation on the clubs to possess a certain quantity of 'home produced players' - these can be of any nationality, and to qualify need to spend three years with the club between the ages of 15 and 21.
There are restrictions on players moving countries before the age of 18 - so this at the age at which the European clubs move. They can get their hands on the youngster at an age when he still has time to go through the process and be considered a home produced player.
This all makes sense - but it's easy to forget that we are dealing here with human beings and not scientific formulas.
The 18-21 age is a time when adolescents are becoming men. Living abroad is not for everyone, however mature. Going through a time of change in a foreign culture will inevitably put an extra strain on some of the youngsters.
Then there is the peculiarity of football. It is hard to think of another career that has a step up as steep as the transition from reserve to first team player in a major team.
Suddenly the youngster's work is observed and judged by thousands in the stadium and a global TV audience of millions. It can be a frightening change for any young man, let alone one thousands of miles from home.
That is, of course, if he is given the opportunity to play in the first team. With the giant squads that the major clubs now carry, there is always the risk that the youngster will be squeezed out and overlooked, and his career will lose momentum as a result.
Because the club picked him up when he was 18 and a relative unknown the financial investment in him has been relatively small. If he doesn't come through then from the club's point of view it's just another academy product who didn't quite make the grade - time to forget all about him and move on to the next hopeful.
The early move to Europe can point to some success stories - Jorge Valdano has argued persuasively that Lionel Messi is a wonderful synthesis of Argentine street football and the Barcelona academy. Messi, though, has been in Spain since was 13, and so spent his entire adolescence abroad.
But there have been plenty of casualties and there will surely be more - those whose career has run aground, left reflecting that they would have been better advised to take things step by step, maturing and making a name for themselves in their country of origin before embarking on their European adventure.
Please leave comments on the topic of this article in the space below - it would be great if the debate could be as rich and interesting as the one you all produced after last week's piece. Send questions on other topics related to South American football to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.
Watching Serie A this season Lavezzi and Zarate have been really eye-catching, is there any chance that they could get a chance in the senior Argentine side? Or are they too similar to Aguero?
Neither of them have been called up for the coming World Cup qualifiers, and nor has Lisandro Lopez of Porto. Coach Basile has made a real gesture of faith in Tevez, who's been sent off in then first half of both the last two qualifiers he's played - and who only has 7 goals in 42 caps. So it's delivery time for Tevez - if not all three of these are in line to overtake him. Argentina's attack is Messi plus one - at the moment I imagine Aguero's in pole position to be that one. There's so much competition in terms of nippy, stocky strikers. Zarate can certainly play alongside Aguero - they won the World Youth Cup together last year.
Incidentally, Diego Milito has been called up - he has another chance to establish himself as the target man.
As a Newcastle fan I would like to know what your opinion is of Nacho Gonzalez, the player we have just signed on loan. Is he any good? Do you think he can cut it in the premier league? Or is he just another journeyman that Newcastle seem to acquire all the time?
I wouldn't call him a journeyman, but he wouldn't be my choice for the Premier League. He's an elegant playmaker, I've enjoyed his performances in Uruguay for Danubio, but I'm not sure he's right for England. I'd love to be proved wrong on this, but I fear that the rhythm of his game is too slow and that he's not mobile enough.