Adryelson is a Brazilian centre-back who signed for Olympique Lyonnais from Botafogo for €3.58m in the January 2024 transfer window, aged twenty-five. He’s the second player to make the move from Botafogo to Lyon since the clubs have both been part of American businessman John Textor’s multi-club ownership project. He’ll hope to make a bigger impact in France than his compatriot Jeffinho, who spent less than a year at Lyon, largely sitting on the bench, before returning to Botafogo.
Adryelson made his Lyon debut as a late substitute in the 3-1 defeat away at Le Havre just a few days after completing his transfer. He was brought on for Rayan Cherki in order to plug a hole in defence created by Duje Ćaleta-Car‘s red card as Lyon ended the game with nine men. His first start came five days later in a 2-1 win over Bergerac in the Coupe de France. He picked up an early yellow card and looked a bit rusty before being replaced at half-time, so it’s safe to say that his best is yet to come..
Growing up in rural Brazil
Adryelson Shawann Lima Silva, to give him his full name, was born in Barão de Grajaú, a rural town of some 19,000 inhabitants on the northern bank of the Parnaíba river that forms the border between the states of Maranhão and Piauí. The son of policeman, he made his way in local youth football before being picked up by Sport Recife from Pernambuco state, based on the coastal city of Recife some 1,000 km to the east of his home town. He was just thirteen when he joined the junior ranks of ‘the Lions‘ in 2011.
In March 2015, before he had made his senior debut in club football, Adryelson was included in the Brazil squad for the South American U-17 Championship in Paraguay. His debut came as a substitute in their opening 3-2 win over Colombia. He then played the full ninety and scored in a surprise 3-2 defeat to Venezuela but was an un-used substitute throughout the remainder of the tournament as Brazil went on to lift the trophy.
His Sport Recife debut came the following month in the state league, the Campeonato Pernambucano. However, it was to be his sole outing in that 2015 season and he only added three more appearances during the course of the 2016 and 2017 campaigns. He continued to cut his teeth in the youth teams and spent a seven month spell on loan at Palmeiras before finally getting his breakthrough in the second half of 2018.
Finally first team football
Adryelson made his Série A debut aged 20 in a home match against high-flying Internacional in front of around 10,000 fans at the Estádio Adelmar da Costa Carvalho. His 79th minute equaliser laid the platform for Sport Recife to snatch an unlikely late winner through Mateus Gonçalves, with an assist by former Lyon legend Michel Bastos, who was winding down his career back in his homeland. That result ended a three-game losing streak for Sport Recife and Adryelson kept his place in the starting line-up for the remainder of the season. He helped bring about an upturn in form for the Lions, but the damage had been done earlier on in the campaign and it wasn’t quite enough to avoid relegation to Série B.
The 2019 season was a much happier affair. Adryelson only missed a handful of games as Sport Recife bounced straight back, finishing second in the table to secure promotion. He also won his first (and only) cap for the Brazil U-23 team in a 5-0 friendly win against Qatar. Back in Série A for 2020, Adryelson helped Sport Recife avoid relegation with a 15th place finish and he was ever-present bar two single-match bans for accumulated yellow cards.
The following season he spent the year on loan at Al-Wasl in the UAE Pro League before returning to Brazil for the 2022 Série A campaign. It was at that juncture that his eleven year association with Sport Recife came to an end in some acrimony due to a dispute over unpaid wages. A tribunal ruled that he could leave on a free transfer and he duly signed for Botafogo.
Almost a champion
It didn’t take Adryelson long to integrate the first team at the famous old Rio club and he helped them to an eleventh place finish in 2022. Botafogo began the 2023 Série A season in fine form and soon hit the top of the table. At one point their lead stretched to a massive thirteen points but they failed to win any of their last eleven fixtures and eventually slipped down to fifth. They also made the quarter finals of the Copa Sudamericana and did manage to capture the Taça Rio, a minor competition for Rio state clubs.
Ultimately though, what had looked set to be a very promising season ended in disappointment. On a personal level, however, Adryelson had looked impressive and he earned his first call up to the full Brazil squad in October when another centre-back, Nino, dropped out through injury. His notional transfer value had likely risen far higher than the €3.58m that Lyon paid for him, but when you’re buying from a partner club you can come to an arrangement on fees. There is a 50% sell-on clause, so Botafogo stand to benefit from a future transfer should he do well in France.