Willian: Player Profile

Samba Star Willian Settling In Fast at Stamford Bridge

Personal information
Full name: Willian Borges da Silva
Date of birth: 9 August 1988 (age 25)
Place of birth: Ribeirão Pires, Brazil
Height: 1.74 m (5 ft 8 1⁄2 in)
Playing position: Winger

Club information
Current club: Chelsea
Number: 22

Youth career

Senior career
2006–2007 Corinthians: 37 Appearances, 2 Goals
2007–2013 Shakhtar Donetsk: 222 Appearances, 37 Goals
2013 Anzhi Makhachkala: 16 Appearances, 1 Goal
2013– Chelsea 14 Appearances, 1 Goal

National team
2007 Brazil U20: 11 Appearances, 0 Goals
2011– Brazil: 4 Appearances, 1 Goal

Willian's performances since making his debut for the club in the opening Champions League game of the season have improved to such an extent that he was called into Luiz Felipe Scolari's Brazil squad for their last friendlies.

The fact he was presented with the number 10 shirt suggests Corinthians had long-term plans for him, but eye-catching performances for Brazil in the 2007 South American Youth Championships and the FIFA Under 20 World Cup brought him to international attention.

Willian learned his trade in the youth ranks at Corinthians, his local club, and made his first team debut in May 2007 at the age of 18 against Juventude.

He first came to prominence as a 16-year-old in 2005 at the prestigious Copa São Paulo de Futebol Júnior tournament, which he won with Corinthians.

On the back of this early success, by the end of the year, he had been selected to play with the first-team in various friendlies.

Willian moved to Ukraine for $19 million in 2007, just before his 19th birthday, on the back of impressive performances at both the Under-20 South American championships and Under-20 World Cup in the same year.

Brazil won the continental title, with a side that included Alexandre Pato, David Luiz, Marcelo and Renato Augusto amongst others.

However, they were eliminated in the Quarter-Finals of the World Cup by Gerard Piqué's Spain.

Moving straight into the Shakhtar first-team, Willian struggled initially to adapt to the Ukranian game.

But, after a slow first season, has emerged as one of the key members of the side, alongside fellow Brazilians Fernandinho and Jadson.

In his time in Ukraine, Shakhtar acheived almost unprecedented levels of success.

In four years Willian won three league titles, two Ukranian Cups, two Super Cups and of course the 2009 UEFA Cup, the club's biggest achievement in their history.

They also made the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first-time, with Willian central to the side's play.

Primarily a creator of chances, his goalscoring rate is decent, but not prolific.

Yet, when he does score, there is a tendency for the goals to be just a little bit special. He also creates ample opportunities for players around him.

Like any Brazilian playmaker, Willian has the full repertoire of step-overs, backheels and flicks, and judging by some of the heavy challenges by Russian defenders, he often suffers for his art.

Standing at 5ft 8in, his low centre of gravity allows for excellent dribbling skills and no Premier League wing-back will relish the prospect of Willian hurtling towards them.

Having worked space, his ability to deliver the perfect cross or pick the decisive pass is up there with the best.

And occasionally he goes for goal himself, with spectacular results - the dribble and low shot across the goalkeeper in a Ukrainian league match with Chernomorets is a YouTube favourite, as is the edge-of-the-box curler against Metalurg.