What age did you start at a professional club in Brazil?
I was 17 years old. Before I turned professional at Joinville I was an amateur learning a lot off my brother especially.
What positions did you play?
I started as a right-back, and that was my first position as a
professional. However I became either an attacking midfielder or a
box-to-box player after that.
How did you get to training?
At Joinville when I was living with my then girlfriend, now wife, I
used to get the bus that stopped right in front of her house and went
straight to the stadium where I would get changed and train. Other times
I used to go with a friend of mine by bicycle. It was funny because he
had a bicycle and one of us would pedal and the other would get on the
back. Then on the way home we used to swap because the training was very
tough and we would be tired!
Favourite music during your academy years?
I liked all types of music but my favourite has always been samba
pagode. My favourite band was a group called Revelação. When I have a
chance I try to see a show and now I even have friends inside the band.
Any dodgy haircuts?
When I was young I had lots of different types of hairstyles. If we
saw something we liked we used to do it. I had one where you grow the
hair up on top, then you cut the sides and you use a comb to keep it up
in a quiff. Sometimes I would cut it with some lines on the head but
after that I grew up and was bald or had very short hair. Recently I
decided to start changing it again…
Did you win any competitions?
When I was in Joinville I won some reserve competitions and I also
went to a state final. With Cruizeiro I won a couple of State
championships and also went to the final of the Copa Libertadores.
Tell us about the moment when you were offered a professional contract.
In February 2005 I was in the junior team at Joinville and we had a
little break for summer. When I came back we had a game against the
senior team because they needed some of the youth players to step up so
they were allowed to compete in that season’s competitions. We had a new
coach who liked my football during the game. He asked me to come to his
office and offered me a professional contract which was 400 reais a
month – about £100.
Looking back, best piece of advice you received?
There is a saying in Brazil: ‘When the horses come out of the traps
very quickly they won’t stop. If you see it you have to jump on and grab
An administrator at Joinville told me that and I took that advice to
heart and decided that when I have a big chance I have to go for it. I
have always taken that advice with me and followed it to this day.