"Leandro Damiao, from Internacional de Porto Alegre. He's tall, strong, a very good goalscorer, a threat in the air and skilful with both feet. He'll play a big part in 2014."
Ronaldo, when asked to apply "the new Ronaldo" tag to one of the current Seleção crop by FIFA.com.
Damião began his career as a midfielder, playing for local teams in Jardim Alegre. He had unsuccessful trials with XV de Outubro and Atlético Ibirama before joining Atlético Tubarão. "When I went to Ibirama a lot of people said I wasn’t good enough," he said. "I had an awful lot of problems to face and I nearly gave up football to go and help my family." During his time with Atlético Tubarão he established himself in the team, having moved into a more advanced position as a striker, and was given a second chance by Atlético Ibirama in 2009. Having scored eight goals in the Santa Catarina state championship, Damião was transferred to Internacional where he won three titles with the club's under-20 side and earned a call-up to the B team. He scored twice in his Campeonato Gaúcho debut and was then called up to the first team for their 2010 Copa Libertadores campaign. Damião won his first major title in August 2010 when he helped Internacional defeat Guadalajara in the Copa Libertadores Finals. He scored the club's second goal in their second leg victory in Porto Alegre to win the competition 5–3 on aggregate.
He was given his first call-up to the Brazil national team in March 2011 for the friendly against Scotland after Alexandre Pato withdrew from the squad due to injury. "I'm taking advantage of the circumstances to summon a player who has been playing well with Internacional and is young enough to play in the Olympics," said head coach Mano Menezes. He won his first cap in the match at the Emirates Stadium in London, which Brazil won 2–0. Damião scored his first goal for Brazil in a 1–0 friendly win against Ghana on 5 September at Craven Cottage.
Damião represented Brazil at the 2012 Olympic football tournament in London. He was the tournament's top scorer with six goals in five appearances, as Brazil finished runners-up to Mexico. he also demonstrated his abitlity to pull off the tricks regularly associated to the players from Brazil when he performed a perfect Rainbow flick in one of the matches.