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Spanish hail ex-Arsenal man after becoming first in 49 years to score in Brasileiro

Former Arsenal prospect Fran Merida is picking up plaudits in his native Spain.

We reported last week how former Arsenal whizkid Fran Merida had finally had some luck in his faltering career.

The 23-year-old chose to move from Spanish second division club Hercules to Atletico Paranaense in Brazil, but a lack of faith in him meant he had to wait nine months to make his debut.

Merida played his first league game last week, and wouldn't you know it he scored on his debut - sparking a comeback from 2-0 down against Flamengo to win 4-2. 

His achievement has not gone unnoticed in his homeland Spain, for one main reason - The goal became the first scored by any Spaniard in Brazil's top flight in 49 years.

Here is what the Spanish press had to say:

El Confidencial: "The former Barcelona youth team had not played a single minute in the 21 previous days, but at dawn on Thursday became the key man for the team, making history for Spanish football.

Marca: "The Spanish player started in the match against Flamengo played in the legendary Maracana and had an outstanding performance."

El Periodico de Catalunya: "Merida's goal comes nearly 50 years after Joseph Ufarte, known as 'Nota', left Brazilian football in 1964."

Furacao: "Not Deivid or Dewey. The big surprise of coach Vagner Mancini for the match against Flamengo on Thursday (19), in Maracanã, was the debut of midfielder Fran Merida as a starter. Playing with the 21 shirt, the midfielder was the author of the first Atletico goal, after 20 minutes. After play from Marcelo down the left, crossed to the midfielder who completed the move to the back of the goal."

Diario Informacion: " Fran Merida starred in his debut by scoring the first goal of the comeback, in Maracanã, Atletico Paranaense. The 23-year ex-Herculano had not acted in any of the 21 previous days and ownership Brazilian league in Rio de Janeiro yesterday was a surprise by the technician Vagner Mancini."

Can Merida become a key player for the club and salvage his career? 

image: © wonker

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