André Trindade: The backbone of Fernando Diniz’s Fluminense – scout report
Fernando Diniz has taken the world by storm with his unorthodox tactics at Fluminense. As an antidote to the modern positional play concept dominantly adopted worldwide, Diniz employs a “Jogo de Apoio” based on relentless mobility and an ever-changing structure. While these tactics have already been examined in a separate analysis here at Total Football Analysis, it is time to look at the backbone of Diniz’s side, André Trindade.
Reportedly monitored by Liverpool and Barcelona, the 21-year-old midfielder from Fluminense is one of the most promising midfielders in Brazil. Alongside Palmeiras’ Danilo, who has been heavily linked with Arsenal, and Flamengo’s João Gomes, André leads the next generation of Brazilian midfielders. Under Diniz, André has burst into the spotlight after becoming an untouchable piece in one of Brazil’s most exciting teams.
This tactical analysis provides an in-depth scout report on Fluminense’s André Trindade, examining the 21-year-old’s playing style and characteristics. In addition to understanding how and where André plays, this analysis will also identify the style of tactics where he is most likely to thrive.
In order to contextualize André’s profile, it is important to first understand his positioning. In Diniz’s fluid 4-2-3-1, the Xerém product is part of a double pivot in the midfield. Nonetheless, due to his incredibly well-rounded and balanced profile, he is able to perform anywhere in the middle of the park.
As seen in his 2022 heatmap, André occupies the entirety of the midfield. Despite being usually deployed on the left side of the double pivot, his movement bleeds all over the pitch, a common characteristic of Diniz’s players. At times, he was also deployed as a centre-back in Diniz’s daring attempts to turn matches around. However, due to his relatively short height of 176cm (5′ 9″), this is not an ideal option.
When observing his passing connections in a recent match, we are able to understand just how crucial he is to Fluminense. Operating slightly deeper than his partner, he is tasked with being the heart of the team in possession. For further context, the bolder the lines are, the stronger the link is.
Normally, midfielders will have a defining strength. Some are characterised by their passing, others by their ball-carrying abilities, and others as ball-winning midfielders. In this case, André is everything. The right-footed midfielder has an incredibly well-rounded playing style, excelling at every type of action. First, this analysis will examine his passing ability and profile.
Passes are a key factor in Diniz’s tactics, and André is at the heart of it. With 63.7 passes per 90 in the 2022 Série A, the volume of his passing is significant. More impressively, it is done with a 93.3% accuracy. Although the majority of these passes are rather short, with an average pass length of 15.57m, he still attempts 3.05 long passes per 90 with a notable 69.57% success rate.
This volume is further illustrated in his pass map for this year’s Série A. André’s passing locations are spread all over the pitch, varying in direction and length. In his own third, there is a healthy balance between lateral/short passes and forward progressive passes. Further up the pitch, it is as dynamic as it comes.
As the heart of possession, he has the responsibility of dictating the tempo and retaining the ball. This is done through constant movement and high-tempo passing, as seen in the example below. First, André plays it back to the centre-back. As the centre-back plays it wide, André moves into a small gap within the defensive organisation, where he can receive the ball before progressing further.
In addition, André has an excellent ability to progress forward with line-breaking passes. As Fluminense’s structure is an everchanging fluid one, this ability is even more impressive. Rather than predetermined passing patterns, André is constantly scanning and adapting to his surroundings. In the example below, as he breaks into the middle third, he is able to put Luiz Henrique into space with an impressive pass.
Against lower blocks, André is able to analyse his teammates’ movements and put the balls into key spaces in order to break the defensive block down and progress further up the pitch. In the instance below, he finds Samuel Xavier as he performs an underlap run in between lines.
In the final third, André also demonstrates an impressive creative ability. In addition to playing a key role in construction and ball progression, the 21-year-old can create chances as he moves into the final third in possession. With great vision and a needle-threading ability, André puts his teammates in dangerous situations with inch-perfect balls.
In another instance, he plays Matheus Martins into the space behind the backline after identifying the Brazilian’s intelligent run. The weight and precision of these passes are very consistent and impressive.
André’s ability to create danger is especially enhanced in Diniz’s tactical system. Naturally, given Diniz’s tactics are built on approximation and numerical superiority, the opponent’s defensive block tends to shift entirely to one side at a time. As a consequence, quick switches of play are very effective in progressing and creating chances. In the instance below, André plays a through pass to Caio Paulista, who is freely running into dangerous space.
This weapon can be further illustrated in the instance below. Fortaleza have a total of nine players on this side of the pitch, and with a quick switch of play, André is able to find Caio Paulista with the freedom to attack.
In addition to a well-rounded passing ability, André is a great ball carrier. With intelligent decision-making, he is able to use his dribbling to complement his passing. While he can perform progressive runs to drive into space and progress forward, he also has the technical ability to get out of tight spaces and maintain control of the ball.
The 21-year-old’s ball progression map below further illustrates this ability. The dots represent dribbles, with green being successful and orange unsuccessful. Additionally, the arrows represent progressive carries.
First, the varying location of these actions is very impressive. In his own third, André supports both sides and is able to use his technical ability to get out of tight spaces, making him very press-resistant.
Additionally, in the middle third, he is able to drive the ball for long distances to progress forward. With 3.01 dribbles per 90 (61.76%) and 1.68 progressive runs per 90, André is a dynamic and well-rounded tool in possession.
In a more specific map, we are able to see just how effective André’s carrying ability is. In addition to highlighting his progressive carries in earlier stages of possession, this map illustrates his penetrating carries in the final third. Both through his passing and dribbling, André is able to arrive and create chances in the final third. This is especially impressive considering how significant he also is in the build-up and progression.
The Brazilian’s astute decision-making rounds off these abilities and makes him an indispensable weapon in possession. André is able to accurately assess situations and perform accordingly, whether that is through dribbling or passing. In the instance below, the Fortaleza defender blocks off Manoel. Consequently, André drives into the space to make the defender commit before finally playing Manoel in the wide area.
In another example, he performs a similar type of action. As Fluminense build up on the right side, André does not have effective passing options nearby, so he dribbles into the central channel before switching it to Manoel on the far side. With this type of decision-making, he assumes control of possession and functions as the guiding player in construction.
In tight spaces, André also demonstrates intelligent awareness. He is able to maintain control of the ball through incredible technical skill and intelligent use of his body. In the instance below, for example, as he drives inside, he dribbles the ball with his left foot and puts his body in front of the Corinthians defender, keeping him from challenging for the ball. As the second defender approaches, he performs a quick feint and accelerates forward.
On top of being an incredible player in possession, André is also a great defender. Fluminense average 59.01% possession in the 2022 Série A, so naturally, his defensive metrics will not be very high. For instance, he only averages 8.09 successful defensive actions per 90 and 6.06 defensive duels per 90. Nonetheless, the percentage of defensive duels won is very high, at 63.5%. Additionally, when possession-adjusted, his interceptions figure rises to 6.1.
In addition to being effective defensively, he is also incredibly intense. This can be illustrated through his defensive action map. For context, the dark dots are interceptions while the orange ones are fouls. His average area of engagement is also highlighted. As a true defensive midfielder, his presence out of possession is significant. André is essentially everywhere, constantly challenging for the ball and closing players down.
This intensity can also be seen through his high regains map. As Fluminense are a very aggressive high-pressing team, André has an important role. As a deep-lying midfielder, he is tasked with providing cover and essentially guarding the midfield as the opposition looks to progress.
The pink dots represent counter-pressing recoveries (54), and the green dots represent dangerous recoveries (13). With a high volume of recoveries, André is a key piece of Diniz’s aggressive pressing system.
An example of André’s counter-pressing ability can be seen below, as Athletico Paranaense look to launch a counterattack. As soon as their centre-forward receives the ball, André is applying pressure from behind while his teammates come from the other side. As seen in his dribbling, the Brazilian’s acceleration and intensity are a key part of his game.
Against Avaí, his role of protecting the midfield is further illustrated. In a zonal marking system, he is able to constantly close opponents down with intelligent positioning. As the centre-back looks to play it into the midfield, André jumps from one player to another and intercepts the pass with a dangerous recovery.
As mentioned, the 21-year-old’s acceleration is one of his most notable strengths. With it, he is able to close opponents down with extreme intensity, allowing little to no time on the ball. In the instance below, as Palmeiras’ midfielder receives the ball, André covers a considerable distance to pressure and recover the ball.
Finally, in his own third, André demonstrates an intelligent defensive awareness. He is able to read and anticipate passes, and with his acceleration, constantly intercept them. In the instance below, as Roger Guedes looks to find Renato Augusto inside, André is able to anticipate and intercept the pass.
If there is one word to describe André Trindade, it is well-balanced. In possession, the 21-year-old’s astute decision-making makes the most out of a balanced passing ability and a technical dribbling ability. Out of possession, André is both intense and effective, able to compose an aggressive pressing system in addition to defending deep.
As the backbone of Diniz’s fascinating tactics, André looks ready for a European move.