Who is Roberto Firmino?
Roberto Firmino is a Brazilian footballer who plays for the English Premier League team ‘Liverpool’ and the Brazil national football team. Born and raised in Alagoas, Roberto grew up in a poverty and crime-infested locality. His parents tried their best to keep their son away from the bad influence of the neighbourhood. Amidst all this, Roberto developed a passion for football. He joined Figueirense’s Youth Setup at the age of 17 and made his professional debut in 2009 playing for Toninho. In 2010, he signed a five-year contract with the German club Hoffenheim and in June 2015, he was finally transferred to Liverpool. He is one of the best young players to emerge on the international football scene at the turn of the century. Playing for Hoffenheim in Bundesliga, he scored 16 goals in a single season in 2013-14. He made his national team debut in November 2014 and played a great role in his team’s great run at 2015 Copa America.
Childhood & Early Life
Roberto Firmino was born in Marceio, Alagoas, on October 2, 1991, to Jose Roberto and Mariana Cicero in a very poor family. His parents lived in a dingy town surrounded by criminal elements, and they had to put a lot of effort to keep Roberto away from bad influence. His mother didn’t allow Roberto to leave the house until he was old enough to handle himself.
His father had a business of selling water bottles and Roberto worked with his father. That was the only source of income for the family and it was very tough for them to make a decent living out of that meagre income. Roberto didn’t show any interest in the family business and just wanted to play football. He was hooked to the sport since the age of six. Despite his parents keeping a close watch on him, he would find ways to sneak out.
According to his mother, “Roberto would wake up earlier than everybody else and sneak out without making a peep.” Only after his neighbours started appreciating his football skills, Roberto’s parents allowed him to go out to play football. Everybody in the neighbourhood was in awe of him and the family became hopeful that he would be the one to better their lives.
He joined Clube de Regatas Brasil’s youth system at the age of thirteen, and from there he learned all the essential tricks of professional football. In his late teenage years, he was spotted by a dentist who invited him to play for the Brazilian football club, ‘Figueirense,’ and this was the beginning of a new phase in his life.
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Although he is now known as an inventive forward, back when he started with Figueirense, he played as a defensive midfielder. He made his debut for the club in 2009 as a substitute player and his club lost to Ponte Preta in the second tier Brazilian football game.
He made a solid comeback in the next season and scored eight goals in the 36 games that he appeared on the field. This played a major role in his club reaching serie A. Hoffenheim 1899 from Germany was one of the very few European clubs who kept a solid eye on fresh Brazilian talents and their eyes fell on Roberto’s stats, which impressed them and he was hired.
In December 2010, Roberto’s journey with the German Bundesliga club initiated with a five years contract. The 2011 January transfer window made his move to the European football scene official and the manager for the team, Ernst Tanner, was already in awe of the new Brazilian talent that had entered his team.
In April 2011, Roberto scored his first goal against Eintracht Frankfurt and made a further solid impact by scoring three goals in the first 11 games. By the end of the 2011-12 season, despite spending less time on the field Roberto ended up scoring seven goals, which was no small deal. This led to a little more growth in his fame in Germany.
One castle was yet to be conquered though, which was the English Premier League, world’s most followed football tournament. In the 2013-14 season while playing for his German Club, Roberto scored 22 goals in the 37 games, with 16 goals in Bundesliga, that he played in. His performance brought considerable interest towards Roberto in the Premier League teams. By the end of the season, Roberto ended up winning the Breakthrough Player of the Season award.
He was also invited by the Russian Club Lokomotiv Moscow, but Roberto decided to stay with Hoffenheim and extended his contract with them for three more years in 2014. But despite the contract signing, 2014-15 proved to be his very last season with the German Club as bigger things awaited him.
He was playing in Copa America when the deal took place between Liverpool and Hoffenheim for a whopping 29 million pounds. The deal took place in mid 2015 and in July that year, his transfer was made official with Roberto handed over a number 11 jersey.
He made his debut for Liverpool in the 2015-16 season against Stoke City in which his team stole a victory. Although he was purchased for a gigantic amount, Liverpool coach decided to use Roberto only as a replacement player for the first five games. Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rogers as the coach and well aware of Roberto’s abilities, he pushed him to play.
Roberto’s performance in the field surpassed all the expectations and he emerged as one of the leading goal scorers for the Liverpool team. For January 2016, he was named player of the month owing to his 4 goals in 5 games.
He ended the 2015-16 season being Liverpool’s best scorer with 10 goals in the Premier League. His performance only got better in the next season, where he ended up scoring 11 goals and played a major role in his team securing a place in the top four teams in the league. In the 2017-18, his performance further amplified and his team became the first team in the Premier League history to win four consecutive league matches with at-least three goals margin.
In October 2014, his dream of playing for his national team came true when he was brought into the team for a friendly match against Turkey and scored his first goal against Austria in the second friendly match.
Roberto Firmino is a married man. He tied the knot with Larissa Pereira in June 2017 in his hometown. The couple has two daughters.
Roberto’s family has a history of poverty and through his dedication and hardwork, he has put his family out of their financial miseries.
Despite being a fitness freak, Roberto has had a run in with the law owing to his drinking habits. In December 2016, he was arrested for drunk driving in Liverpool and he was able to get away only after he paid a massive fine.
He is highly popular among his Liverpool teammates and fans of the clubs and is affectionately called ‘Bobby’.