Full name: Elias Mendes Trindade
Left Atlético in: 2011
Currently playing for: Sporting Portugal
Squad number: 9
DoB: 16 May 1986
Buyout Clause: Unknown
Previous Clubs: Náutico (2005-2006), São Bento (2007), CA Juventus (2007), Ponte Preta (2008), Corinthians (2008-2010)
Elias Mendes Trindade was born on 16 May 1986 in São Paulo and, like many Brazilian kids, grew up on the streets where he played his first games of football. He was soon scouted by Palmeiras where he grew up as a footballer.
Elias started his career as part of a succesful striking duo with Vágner Love (they would both end up playing for the Brazilian national team) and in 2002 they won the Paulista U17 Championship. As a forward Elias scored twenty times, including a goal in the final against Corinthians.
But his coach Émerson Leão was of the opinion that the player was too short and meager to ever make it as a forward in the first team. And so Elias was forced to leave Palmeiras, after playing in the club’s youth system for over eight years.
He then joined Náutico, but as the club went through financial difficulties Elias again had to pack his bags. He went home to São Paulo, where he fell into a depression as he saw his dream of becoming a professional football player crushed.
But his friends and family convinced the Brazilian to keep playing, even if it was at an amateur level. While doing so he was scouted by São Bento, a club under charge of former Colombian international Freddy Rincón. The coach had a big impact in Elias’ career, as he was the one who advised him to play as an offensive midfielder.
From that point Elias rapidly developed and his strong performances earned him a move to CA Juventus. After just six months he was picked up by Ponte Preta and when Corinthians came knocking another six months later, Elias knew he had finally reached the top of Brazilian football.
From 2008 on he would play 155 games for Timão, in which he scored 24 goals, and become a key player for Corinthians when they won the Campeonato Paulista in 2009.
His strong performances in the Brazilian league earned him his first national team call-up in 2010. On 23 September Mano Menezes handed Elias his debut for the Seleção. He was part of the Brazilian squad that reached to the quarter finals of the 2011 Copa América.
Elías was in tears when he bid farewell to Corinthians supporters after the last league match of the Campeonato Brasileiro in 2010. In January 2011 he joined Atlético for a €7m fee.
At Atleti the Brazilian was mostly used out of position and struggled to find his place during his first months in Madrid. But as the new season started, with Gregorio Manzano replacing Quique Sánchez Flores, the midfielder was ready to impress.
Unfortunately Elias was victim to the extracomunitario rule in Spain, which allows clubs to subscribe only 3 players without a European passport for league play. With plenty of alternatives in midfield, Gregorio Manzano preferred Miranda, Eduardo Salvio and Falcao over Elias, who was sold to Sporting Portugal. The Portuguese outfit paid €8.85m for the midfielder, but only part of the fee went to Atlético as the club did not own all of Elias’ transfer rights.