Le50 2016: Wallace – AS Monaco
For all the attacking comings and goings at Monaco, one player who may have slipped under the radar to many is talented centre back Wallace. The young Brazilian is currently enjoying a second consecutive loan spell from Portuguese side Braga and after a significant number of impressive performances for Leonardo Jardim’s side, it could entice Monaco to make the deal permanent.
With a humble upbringing in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, his size meant he had to re-evaluate his young ambitions. “In Brazil, everyone dreams of becoming Romario, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos. But I did not have that gift. I started out in attack, then into midfield and because I grew faster than others and was good in the air, I ended up in defence” he told the Monaco club website.
He began to demonstrate his potential with a number of solid defensive displays at the tail-end of the 2014-2015 season and has only gone on to further enhance his reputation in 2015-2016. Under the guidance of veteran Portuguese centre back Ricardo Carvalho, Wallace has blossomed in his second season with the club and has become a crucial member of Jardim’s side.
At 6ft 3in, Wallace is comfortable in the air. He possesses an athletic physique meaning he has the pace that has become a requirement of the modern day centre back. Cool and composed on the ball and able to read the game well for someone with only two seasons of consistent top-flight football, one can see that Wallace has kept a close eye on his fellow countryman, Thiago Silva. It is the PSG captain who Wallace looks to emulate in his style of play. “I try to play like Thiago Silva. He is very determined, technically brilliant and always fully focussed,” he told the Ligue 1 Show. He also admires legendary defender Lucio and recognises a little of himself in the World Cup-winning defender: “he was called the Sheriff. He commanded respect and was a tough, combative man. I think I have a bit of that”. If he has half the career of Silva or Lucio he will have done very well.
For all his talent, a number of people have questioned his temperament. With a couple of red cards already for Monaco, including one for a poor high two-footed challenge, the player certainly needs to eradicate moments of hot-headedness. He perhaps is more infamously known for his off-the-ball stamp on Samuel Umtiti in the 2014-15 season. Vicious and nasty in intent, he escaped a sending off but did ultimately receive a four-match ban. Moments like this will ultimately put off the bigger clubs and will hinder his progress. Further advice from the experienced Carvalho will be needed to help Wallace keep his cool when the red mist falls.
It would be a disservice to the player to focus solely on those faults as beyond that is a very good player. He has progressed through the Brazilian national youth sides, including representing them at the Toulon tournaments in 2013 and 2014. There is no reason why, with a little fine-tuning of his play, he couldn’t ultimately make it into the senior side. A permanent move to Monaco would go a long way to helping his cause. With doubts over how many more seasons Carvalho has left in him and the fact that Andrea Raggi is also the wrong side of 30, Wallace could have a huge opportunity to establish himself as the lynchpin of the Monaco defence.
Wallace also admires legendary defender Lucio and recognises a little of himself in the World Cup-winning defender: “he was called the Sheriff. He commanded respect and was a tough, combative man. I think I have a bit of that”. If he has half the career of Silva or Lucio, he could go on to great things – whether he is at Monaco or not.