For many people in Maceio, Neymar is not the biggest football idol. In their minds, Firmino is the most outstanding star, in both talent and personality.
Relaxing on the coast of Ponta Verde, Sergio Araujo, a phone repairman, declared: “Firmino is currently the best Brazilian player at the moment. He will never say this, but I will do it: Neymar even not even worthy of cleaning shoes for Firmino “.
Araujo has a reason to say that. In the past 2 years, no Brazilian player has achieved as much success as Firmino.
In his hometown of Maceio, Firmino is valued more than Neymar.
Through a few giant palm trees reflecting on the blue water, next to the high-rise hotels sparkling in the sun and the luxurious restaurants on the beach, the city of Maceio, the center of the state of Alagoas, appeared.
The natural beauty and bustling scenery of the land known as the “Brazilian Caribbean” has produced one of the best 9 in contemporary world football.
Roberto Firmino was born on October 2, 1991, in Trapiche da Barra, a poor neighborhood between a polluted lake and a poor Maceio slum. In his simple childhood home, he lent his soul to the music emanating from the Rei Pele Stadium more than 20,000 places nearby.
It is here, amidst the garbage piles, the dirty sewers and the shabby housing, a shy boy with a smile always present begins his journey. The journey from the vicious streets to Maracana, Anfield or the most magnificent stadiums of world football.
Bruno, a childhood friend of Firmino, recounted that violence was always present in Maceio, which made Liverpool’s mother worried. She was afraid he might become a bandit.
However, Firmino’s thought never thought of that. Violence does not stop his love of the ball. He frequently jumped over walls to play with friends on the street. “Once he fell and had stitches on his knee. There are still scars now,” revealed Bruno.
Other friends recalled Firmino’s stoning of the house to signal him to escape to play football. Even mischievous that sometimes even aided by a coach of Flamenguinho, the football team of Liverpool striker life. This coach sometimes brings a few ladders, to help his child star easily sneak out to play.
Even when competing against children 6 years older than him, Firmino was on a different level. “He was very timid and quiet, just laughing, but crazy about football,” a friend named Dedeu said. “When he doesn’t have the ball in his hand, he will play and do tricks with oranges.
Firmino’s dream is always to become a professional player, to be able to take his parents and sister out of the shabby accommodation and evils around.
Ari Santiago, the administrative staff of Escola de Jesus could not imagine, one of his students would later play for the Brazilian national team.
After returning from the summer vacation, Santiago received information that three students had been murdered. The tragedy urged him to found the school’s football team, and Firmino was one of the most impressive members.
At the age of 14
Firmino was one of the best players in the school. He signed a youth training contract with Clube de Regatas Brasil Club (CRB), a strong local football team. The contract does not play officially for another team.
When he faced his former teammates at the school in the local quarter-finals, the boy mischievously asked the teacher to bring a big bag containing the number of goals he would hit the school’s net. As a result, The talented striker scored in the 8-0 victory of CRB. The next day, the boy walked into Santiago’s office and smiled.
Previously, the CRB youth team coach did not take much time to realize the talent of the shy boy came to try. 4 years later, at the age of 17, Firmino spent all the money he had saved to go to Figueirense, a club that will officially bring wings to his dream of a professional player.
Hemerson Maria, the U17 coach Figueirense, described him as a phenomenon in his young training career. Usually, the young players are given the opportunity for 2 weeks, 10 days or even months when trying here. But Firmino only takes 30 minutes to prove talent.
“He showed great technique, and scored twice with his bicycle kick back, took the ball and the corner of the A,” recalls Hemerson. He immediately changed the position of Firmino, who was previously assigned by the CRB to play as a defensive midfielder. He was allowed to kick the striker.
The hero of the city
In 2015, Firmino came to Liverpool, where he officially became a big star of world football. In August 2019, He became the first Brazilian player to score 50 goals in the Premier League.
Over the past year, Firmino has won the Champions League, Copa America and is on its way to winning the first Premier League title in 30 years with Liverpool. He is one of the best 9s of modern football when he can fulfill the role of both defense and attack.
For those of you who grew up with Firmino, or the people living in Maceio, the Liverpool striker is a true hero. He is only the third player of Alagoas state in history, having played in the World Cup.
Firmino pays over $ 80,000 in medical bills to help poor families, making monthly contributions to the local hospital in Santa Catarina. Occasionally, he brings free drinks and meals to people around the area.
Of course, in the eyes of the majority of Brazilian football fans, Firmino is still not as good as Neymar, the nation’s great idol.
The statement “Neymar is not worth cleaning shoes for Firmino” of the phone repairer is sure to make many Brazilian fans angry. Yet, in Maceio, or particularly on the poor streets, between skyscrapers and polluted landfills, Firmino is the incomparable star.
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