Caio Lucas Fernandes continues to impress in the UAE


Caio Lucas Fernandes turned away Brazil’s biggest clubs to become a star in Japan and influential in the UAE.

The Brazilian started his journey in his hometown Sao Paulo but was cut from the academy at the age of 15.

He was picked up by a Japanese high school which was the start to his career, moving to the opposite side of the world at the age of just 17.

The winger signed for Kashima Antlers after graduating in 2014. His quick speed and dribbling gained attention and guaranteed him a place in the first team.

Caio soon enough became a favourite with Kasima. In his first season, he scored nine goals in 37 games and was named the J.League’s Rookie of the Year.

The Brazilian made over 100 appearances during his two-and-a-half-year stay with the side, scoring 27 goals for the Japanese club, winning the 2016 J1 League and getting on the scoresheet in the J.League Cup final win against Gamba Osaka.

During his third year, he was looked at closely by Emirati side Al Ain who purchased the winger for €3M midway through the 2016 season.

He added another two trophies to his cabinet with the side, winning the UAE Pro League and President’s Cup as well as becoming a standout in his goalscoring ability. The 26-year-old netted nearly a goal every two games.

Caio scored twice in Al Ain’s 2018 Club World Cup semi-final win over River Plate on penalties. Despite losing in the final against Real Madrid, he was named the second best player during that competition behind Gareth Bale.

After his spell with the Abu Dhabi side, where he netted 30 goals in 93 appearances, Caio moved to Benfica on a free transfer. The Brazilian would be loaned back to the UAE from Portugal to Sharjah FC on an 18-month loan.

He has made 18 appearances this season, scoring seven and assisting 12. After a run of bad form, the King’s have gone from battling for the title to battling for the top four in just a space of weeks. Abdulaziz Mohammed Al Anberi’s side currently sit fifth, with four games remaining in the Arabian Gulf League.

A number of strong performances for Caio could see him presented with the opportunity on the European stage. As the 26-year-old enters his peak year.

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