Roberto Firmino really does have it all. Not only is he one of the most prestigious young talents in world football, he also has an incredible and truly inspiring backstory – which even includes being discovered by a dentist!
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The Daily Mirror recently revealed several intriguing facts about our new man as part of an in-depth profile piece which discussed the origins of his incredible talent.
Firmino, who this week became the second most expensive signing in our club’s history, really was spotted by a dentist. Marcellus Portella was the surgeon at local side Clube de Regatas Brasil when he spotted his prodigy.
A 15-year-old Firmino was struggling to get anyone’s attention but the medical man refused to allow his talents to go to waste. He became his representative and agent, travelling around South America to find the youngster trials.
Portella, who is quoted by the Mirror, revealed: “When I saw him play for the first time, I could see that he was a very talented player. But no one was interested in him. When I said that one day he would represent the national team, they told me I was crazy.”
Little did they know that the dentist had uncovered a gem. Firmino ended up at Figueirense and scored two overhead kicks within an hour of the start of his first training session. However, he was so shy that he didn’t even correct the coach when he called him ‘Albert’ for his first two weeks at the club.
Firmino used his family as motivation. The desperation to provide loved ones with a better life is a story that crops up time and again in South America, and so it was for our new man. When his rags to riches story culminated in a move to Europe and 1899 Hoffenheim in 2011, money was no longer a worry.
His rate of progression has never slowed. In his last 66 matches for the German club, he played a key role in 45 goals. And now, aged 23, the Premier League has come calling for him. As the Mirror states, from the streets of Maceio – one of Brazil’s most dangerous cities – he is now preparing for life on Merseyside.
Portella still works with Firmino and helps guide his career. Roberto even helped his confidant make good on his promise, earning his first call-up to the Brazilian national team at the end of last year.
We wish Roberto all the best at Anfield, we’re sure that he has a great career ahead of him!