Schalke gamble on Edu pays off

MILAN - Schalke forward Edu's curriculum is typical of the many Brazilian players who make their living from football, far from the glamour of better known compatriots such as Robinho, Kaka, Julio Cesar and Lucio.

His career has taken him to Santos, Guarani, CRAC and Nautico in his homeland, unfashionable German clubs VfL Bochum and Mainz 05 and also a brief stint in South Korea.

He has never had a sniff of the famous gold shirt and could walk down the street in Sao Paulo without being noticed.

On Tuesday, however, he upstaged the likes of Inter Milan's key players Samuel Eto'o and Wesley Sneijder, scoring twice to help Schalke 04 demolish holders Inter Milan 5-2 at the San Siro and repaying new coach Ralf Rangnick for gambling on him.

Edu, 29, was given few outings under Rangnick's controversial predecessor Felix Magath, but the new coach saw a role for him as an out-and-out centre forward.

"I thought it was logical that Edu should play in the centre of the attack," Rangnick said. "He struggled in a recent game but today he made a great contribution."

Rangnick, in charge for his second match of his second stint at Schalke, also gave a Champions League debut to 23-year-old Alexander Baumjohann, who set up Edu's second, and kept faith with Jose Manuel Jurado, another promising young midfielder.

"Both are classy players, that is a well-known fact. It was logical to bring them into the squad and they both responded superbly against very strong opponents," said Rangnick

The coach dismissed comparisons between his laidback style and the tough training methods of his predecessor Felix Magath.

Magath, who led Schalke to second place in the Bundesliga last season, was fired in March amid criticism of his training policy and protests among fans.

"Each coach has his own style. Felix has his, I have my own, Felix was successful and it doesn't make any sense to make comparisons," said Rangnick.

"We twice came from behind against very strong opponents.

"It was a delicate, difficult situation, as I had little time to get to know the squad and we had a lot of injuries, but we gave the right answer today on the pitch. It says a lot about the team."