Tag Archives: teammates

She"s in safe hands! Fabregas posts photo of newborn daughter after making another Champions League semi-final

She's in safe hands! Fabregas posts photo of newborn daughter after making yet another Champions League semi-final

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

17:09 GMT, 11 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:09 GMT, 11 April 2013

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas admitted yesterday was the happiest day of his life.

No, it wasn't just the fact he had made it through to an incredible fourth Champions League semi-final, but more the fact his girlfriend Daniella Semaan had given birth to their first child.

Newborn: Fabregas posted this picture of his daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan grasping his finger

Newborn: Fabregas posted this picture of his daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan grasping his finger

Fabregas played 62 minutes last night as his side reached the last four of the Champions League after a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain at the Nou Camp saw them go through on away goals.

And it was the former Arsenal midfielder who made way for Lionel Messi with PSG leading 1-0, with the Argentinian changing the game for the hosts.

Game changer: Fabregas made way for Messi in the 62nd minute, ultimately changing the game

Game changer: Fabregas made way for Messi in the 62nd minute, ultimately changing the game

But even better news was around the corner, and he tweeted: 'Yesterday it was the happiest day of my life, our daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan was born. Both her and Daniella are doing very well.'

The 25-year-old then posted a picture of his newborn daugther grasping his finger, and he'll want to get his hands on his own prize at the end of May, having won just one of the four semi-finals he has been involved in with Arsenal and Barcelona.

Fabregas and his Barcelona teammates will discover who stands in their way of another Champions League final tomorrow, with the draw for the semi-finals taking place in Nyon at 11am BST.

Champion: If Fabregas plays in the last four, it will be his fourth Champions League semi-final appearance

Champion: If Fabregas plays in the last four, it will be his fourth Champions League semi-final appearance

Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas

Mario Balotelli helps AC Milan beat Chievo 1-0

Balotelli inspires Milan to victory over Chievo as race for Champions League spots hots up

PUBLISHED:

20:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

Mario Balotelli helped AC Milan take a huge step towards securing Champions League football by playing a major role in the Rossoneri’s win over Chievo Verona.

Milan moved provisionally into second place in Serie A after they won 1-0 and Fiorentina and Roma both lost.

The win lifts Milan six points above fourth-place Fiorentina as the race for next seasons Champions League hots up.

Helping hand: Mario Balotelli played his part in Milan's win

Helping hand: Mario Balotelli played his part in Milan's win

Beating his man: Balotelli skips past Luca Rigoni

Beating his man: Balotelli skips past Luca Rigoni

Celebration time: AC Milan's midfielder Riccardo Montolivo celebrates with Balotelli and teammates after scoring

Celebration time: AC Milan's midfielder Riccardo Montolivo celebrates with Balotelli and teammates after scoring

Chievo goalkeeper Christian Puggioni could only parry Balotelli's fierce free kick and Riccardo Montolivo was quickest to react and smashed home the rebound.

Dario Dainelli was sent off for Chievo following a second booking 13 minutes from time.

Atletico Madrid open door for Fernando Torres return from Chelsea

Atletico open door for Torres return while Chelsea given encouragement over Falcao

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

12:45 GMT, 23 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 23 March 2013

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has opened the door for Fernando Torres to return to his former side.

The Chelsea striker made his name in Spain before moving to Liverpool in 2007.

Simeone says he knows how important Torres can be for his side and that because of his roots he knows about what it means to play for Los Rojiblancos.

Struggle: Fernando Torres has not been able to find his feet at Chelsea

Struggle: Fernando Torres has not been able to find his feet at Chelsea

He told Spanish radio station Onda
Cero: 'Fernando Torres is currently playing for another team. We have to
wait for the season to finish and decide which of the available players
could come here and do a good job.

'Fernando knows about the club's history, what it means to play here and I don't need to speak about his ability.

'We were teammates. I know how important he can be.'

Chelsea want Atletico's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao as a replacement. He has scored 25 goals in 28 games for his club this season, including a hat-trick against the Blues in the Super Cup final.

He can be procured for 48million but the Blues would be interested in a part-exchange deal involving Torres.

When asked about Falcao's future, Simeone did not insist the player would be staying at the club.
Instead he reasoned that everybody makes their own decisions and Falcao deserves respect.

Simeone said: 'I'm not Falcao and I'm not his agent. I'm the manager and have the utmost respect for him, because he gave me so much at River Plate and has done the same here.

'He always gives his all and I really respect players who do that. But everyone makes their own decisions in life.

'Every person is different, and we have to respect each other. Those who stay are always going to be the best.'

Can't stop: Radamel Falcao is in absolutely lethal form for club and country

Can't stop: Radamel Falcao is in absolutely lethal form for club and country

Frank: Diego Simeone said that Torres knows the club and he would be an important player

Frank: Diego Simeone said that Torres knows the club and he would be an important player

Sepp Blatter claims racism won"t be solved by running away like Kevin-Price Boateng and AC Milan

Racism will not be solved by 'running away' like Boateng and Milan, claims Blatter

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

12:23 GMT, 10 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:35 GMT, 10 January 2013

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has urged players not to leave the pitch in protest if they are subjected to racist abuse, saying 'running away' is not a long-term solution to stopping discrimination.

It follows the actions of AC Milan player Kevin-Price Boateng, who led his teammates off the field after being abused during a friendly with Italian lower league club Pro Patria last week.

Boateng was highly praised for his protest, including by Blatter, but the football chief warned that a repeat in the future would not make the problem go away.

Not a solution: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Kevin-Prince Boateng's protest (below) was not the right way to stamp racism out of the game

Not a solution: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Kevin-Prince Boateng's protest (below) was not the right way to stamp racism out of the game

Protest: Kevin-Prince Boateng leads his AC Milan teammates from the field after being subjected to racist abuse

'If you remember the Boateng problem and him running away, I made a comment on that and I still have the same feeling – it was good what he has done in order to give this impact by saying: “Listen – look at what has happened,” Blatter told Sky Sports News.

'But it can't be the solution because you can never solve any problem in your life – in your private life, in your public life, wherever – by running away.

'This is now to day “Listen, if you don't take care of our sport, we will do it.” It was a warning, but it can't be the solution.'

Protest: Boateng wears an

Protest: Boateng wears an “AC Milan against racism” t-shirt before the Serie A match with Siena last weekend

Blatter went on to make some vague promises about calling a meeting to discuss the problem of racism in the game.

He said: 'What we shall do now – and I am thinking about this – we shall make a kind of summit or discussion with all the actors concerning discrimination and racism.

'There must be a lot of solidarity and understanding that we have to eradicate it. But it can only be done if all the actors are participating, and actors are also the spectators.'

The full interview with Sepp Blatter will be shown on Sky Sports News HD Special Report at 7.30pm on Monday

Lucas Piazon blasts Chelsea teammates after Club World Cup disappointment

You're not bothered like us Brazilians! Piazon blasts Chelsea teammates as Cahill's out of Leeds clash after red card

|

UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 16 December 2012

Chelsea teenager Lucas Piazon today launched a scathing attack on his team-mates for their ‘unacceptable’ lack of effort during the defeat by Corinthians.

The 18-year-old forward, voted the club’s young player of the year in May, said only his Brazilian compatriots demonstrated any will to win the Club World Cup.

Piazon, an unused substitute in Japan, was reported on Brazilian website UOL Esporte as saying: ‘We didn’t have desire to be champions. I think only David Luiz and Ramires, the Brazilians, showed willpower. That’s why they’re sad.

Scathing attack: Lucas Piazon blasted his Chelsea teammates for their 'unacceptable' lack of effort in the Club World Cup final with Corinthians

Scathing attack: Lucas Piazon blasted his Chelsea teammates for their 'unacceptable' lack of effort in the Club World Cup final with Corinthians

Smiling no more: The Brazilian (left), pictured arriving in Japan with compatriot Ramires, didn't get off the bench in the tournament

Smiling no more: The Brazilian (left), pictured arriving in Japan with compatriot Ramires, didn't get off the bench in the tournament

‘The team went to the pitch with no desire. It’s unacceptable. I noticed David was sad. He was one of the few players that showed something in the game.’

Both Ramires and Luiz, who was named as second best player of the tournament, were in tears after the game as the Brazilian side became the first South American team to win the Club World Cup for six years.

Benched: Piazon (second left) could only watch as Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by the South American champions Corinthians

Benched: Piazon (second left) could only watch as Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by the South American champions Corinthians

Piazon, the inspiration behind Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup win last season, has started both of the club’s Capital One Cup matches this season but it remains to be seen if he will feature in Wednesday’s quarter-final against Leeds — little more than 24 hours after the squad return to England.

Ruled out of the Leeds game is defender Gary Cahill, who was seething at the play-acting of Qatari-Brazilian Emerson, which led to the England defender being sent off in the 90th minute yesterday.

‘I am angry,’ said Cahill. ‘I’m disappointed in myself for my reaction but also because it’s OK for someone to lash out at you, but you do something back and it’s deemed a red card.

You're off: Gary Cahill (foreground) was sent off late in Chelsea's loss for kicking out at Corinthians' Emerson

You're off: Gary Cahill (foreground) was sent off late in Chelsea's loss for kicking out at Corinthians' Emerson

‘I tackled him, we tangled up and he lashed out with his arm and hit me in the face. I thought that was out of order but I reacted in a bad way. Looking back there are two different stories.

‘Someone’s smashed me in the face but I didn’t roll around on the floor for five minutes holding my head. I got up, reacted and tapped him in the shin. He felt the need to go down, roll around on the floor for about five times holding his face.

‘I suppose that’s the story of the game really. In the context of the game it was disappointing.

Overreaction: 'It wouldn't have been enough to knock over my one-year-old daughter' says Cahill (left) of the kick that got him sent off

Overreaction: 'It wouldn't have been enough to knock over my one-year-old daughter' says Cahill (left) of the kick that got him sent off

‘It was late on. It wasn’t as if it was in the 60th minute. I could have got him sent off if I’d rolled around for five minutes after he hit me. It probably is a red card but the reaction of the guy is totally out of order for what I did if you see the impact.

‘It wouldn’t have been enough to knock over my one-year-old daughter. I’m still angry.’

Cahill will automatically miss one game — against Leeds — and FIFA’s disciplinary department will decide this week whether it will be extended to more.

‘I have a heavy heart,’ added Luiz, a Corinthians fan as a boy, after the defeat. ‘I cried. I wanted to win. I dreamed one day of playing in the Club World Cup final. I say congratulations to Corinthians but I cannot be happy.

‘You can cry one night. Tomorrow is another day. Life continues. I say thanks to God for my life always, in good and bad moments.’

Luiz produced another excellent performance in central defence and added: ‘Three months ago, two months ago, other people spoke bad about David Luiz and tried to kill me but I have confidence in my life.

‘I think I played well. I just try to help Chelsea. I came to Chelsea two years ago and many people didn’t know who David Luiz was. In the first month, second month, I did a great job and won some titles. Some people like you, some don’t.

‘What I want to do is put my head in the pillow and say I worked hard, did my best and I can sleep.’

Frank Lampard returned to the side as captain and insisted nobody had underestimated the competition.

Defeated: David Luiz (foreground) looks on as he watches his boyhood club Corinthians celebrate winning the Club World Cup

Defeated: David Luiz (foreground) looks on as he watches his boyhood club Corinthians celebrate winning the Club World Cup

‘We’re disappointed,’ said Lampard. ‘It was certainly a meaningful competition.

‘There was a great crowd for the final. The Chelsea fans have followed us well and as a club we wanted to win it.

‘It was always going to be a tough game. They’re a physical team as well as one with ability.

Once you give Brazilian teams a goal they’re adept at sitting back and counter-attacking. It was difficult to break them down. We didn’t play at our best.’

Chelsea defender Ashley Cole loses Rafa Benitez"s bowling game in Japan

Cheque please! Ashley Cole becomes team waiter after losing Rafa's bowling trip

|

UPDATED:

08:13 GMT, 13 December 2012

One week after being skittled out of the Champions League, Rafa Benitez organised a ten-pin bowling expedition for his Chelsea players with Ashley Cole among those to suffer in the unforgiving lanes of Yokohama.

Benitez hatched the Japanese bowling trip to help his players bond and fight the jet-lag ahead of their debut in the FIFA Club World Cup. Players and staff split into small groups with the worst bowlers being made to wait on tables for their team-mates.

'It wasn’t really about who won, it was about who lost,' revealed Gary Cahill, who performed better than left-back Cole. 'Whoever lost had to serve the dinner at the hotel. It was Ashley in our group.'

Loser: Ashley Cole was forced to wait on his teammates after losing the bowling tournament

Loser: Ashley Cole was forced to wait on his teammates after losing the bowling tournament

He added: 'There were about six of us and he was waiting on us. I have to say, he’s a better left-back than a waiter. I think the only tip anyone gave him was: “Don’ t do it again”.

'Everyone played, including the manager. There were a few strikes and the standard was alright, actually. I’d describe myself as an average bowler. It was a bit of team bonding, a chance to get the lads together and then we had some food.

'It was good because aside from that, we’ve just been preparing for the games. This has given us an opportunity because we’re all away together for a few days and once you’ve trained, there’s nothing on.

'That’s been the only thing really. We’re not here on holiday. We’re here for a reason. We’re here to prepare for the game. But we’ve had a bit of down time when we first came and it was good to get out for an hour instead of going stir-crazy in the hotel.'

Chelsea will get down to business on Thursday when they face Monterrey in the Club World Cup semi-final

Chelsea will get down to business on Thursday when they face Monterrey in the Club World Cup semi-final

Benitez also wanted to guard against jet-lag and feared if the players had free time in the evening they would spend the evening snoozing, settling into the wrong sleep patterns for a team who will launch their campaign on Thursday against Monterrey, of Mexico.

'I was here in 2005 and we knew we had to do something to keep the players busy because if not they go to sleep,' said Benitez, the first manager to lead three different teams into the Club World Cup.

'When they are thinking they need to go to sleep, we had to organise some activities to keep them ready. The majority understand they have to do it. Each person is different. For most people it is not the main thing but for a player who has to compete, sleep is really important.'

Relaxed: Juan Mata and Frank Lampard have some fun in training at the Yokohama International Stadium

Relaxed: Juan Mata and Frank Lampard have some fun in training at the Yokohama International Stadium

English teams have suffered similar problems in the past. When Liverpool were in Tokyo for the Toyota Cup final against Flamengo in December 1981, some players were struggling to sleep on the eve of the game and they went to a nearby driving range for 30 minutes to hit some golf balls. It did not help as they were beaten next day by the Brazilians.

Despite their early exit from this year’s Champions League, this tournament has rekindled memories of Chelsea’s victory in Munich in May, as did Didier Drogba’ s decision to buy “Superbowl” style commemorative rings for his team-mates and staff at a personal cost thought to be around 800,000.

'It was an amazing surprise,' said Cahill. 'I had no idea when he came in and called us all together. I was very touched. It was extremely generous for a start because it was his idea and no-one needs to go out and do that. Not just for us for the staff as well.

'It shows what his character is. He is a great lad. It reminds us of what a great achievement it was. He said that's why he did it, so that none of us forget what a huge achievement it was.

'It’s something I'll keep for the rest of my life but I’m not sure it’s a ring I’d wear. I'm not flashy. It’s more of a memento. It's personal and individual to every player and something you want to save.'

Robin van Persie and Fernando Torres: Head to head

A tale of two strikers as Van Persie and Torres go head to head at Stamford Bridge

|

UPDATED:

23:56 GMT, 26 October 2012

They are two of the Premier League’s star strikers and on Sunday Robin van Persie and Fernando Torres go head-to-head in the biggest game of the season so far.

Van Persie has continued his electric form for new club Manchester United but Torres continues to struggle. Sportsmail analyses both players’ performance in 2012.

Fernando Torres

Robin van Persie

Contrasting fortunes: Fernando Torres is finding it hard at Chelsea while Robin van Persie is carrying on his good form

GOAL MACHINE

Both clubs have spent big money on Torres and Van Persie for one reason: goals. RVP has been in red-hot form, scoring 19 league goals in 2012. Torres has scored eight.

TEAM PLAYER

Van Persie has been the more complete player. The Dutchman has seven assists to Torres’ two and he is far ahead of the Spaniard in terms of chances created, setting up 65 opportunities for teammates compared with Torres’s 36.

BALL WINNER

Though neither are known as powerful front men, Torres is more effective at winning the ball than Van Persie. He has won 43 per cent of his 323 50-50 duels, whereas Van Persie has won 37 per cent of his 195 contests.

Finding the net: Van Persie has scored eight goals for Manchester United this season

Finding the net: Van Persie has scored eight goals for Manchester United this season

TARGET MAN

Van Persie has hit 50 shots on target compared with Torres’s 19 but the two are fairly evenly matched when it comes to converting their chances. Torres has scored 19 per cent of his opportunities, while Van Persie’s conversion rate is 22 per cent.

WINGING IT

Both players are used centrally as lone strikers, but Van Persie is the more effective when drifting out wide. He has hit 132 crosses compared with Torres’s 38. The Spaniard is more accurate, with 26 per cent of his crosses finding their man, compared with Van Persie’s 22 per cent.

Finding it tough: Torres has six goals this season

Finding it tough: Torres has six goals this season

TOUGH TACKLING

Defending is not normally a big part of a striker’s role, but Torres has made 34 tackles this year with a 94 per cent success rate. Van Persie has made 21, with a success rate of 76 per cent.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

In 12 games against Chelsea, Van Persie has scored five goals, including a memorable hat-trick at Stamford Bridge last season. Torres has scored four goals in 10 games against United but he has finished on the losing side six times.

Sandro and David Luiz clash in Brazil training

Calm down! Spurs-Chelsea clash is five days away, but Sandro and Luiz are already getting stuck in

|

UPDATED:

17:06 GMT, 15 October 2012

With Chelsea flying high at the top of the table and Tottenham determined to shoot them down, this Saturday's derby at White Hart Lane should be pretty tasty.

But it looked like Sandro and David Luiz wanted to start the battle early as they took part in some play fighting during a Brazil training session.

Luiz's club teammate Oscar also joined in on the fun as the players pushed and shoved each other.

However, it looked at one point as though Sandro wasn't too impressed by the Chelsea defender's antics and a colleague had to intervene.

Larking around: David Luiz gives Sandro a palm to the face in Brazil training as Oscar and Paulinho join in

Larking around: David Luiz gives Sandro a palm to the face in Brazil training as Oscar and Paulinho join in

Too far! But Sandro soon gets tired of Luiz's antics and a teammates has to intervene

Too far! But Sandro soon gets tired of Luiz's antics and a teammates has to intervene

They certainly need to calm down before the Saturday lunchtime kick-off, which is sure to be played at a fierce pace.

Brazil are currently in Wroclaw, Poland as they prepare to take on Japan in a friendly on Tuesday afternoon.

As hosts of the next World Cup, Brazil have qualifi

Back to basics: Brazil coach Mano Menezes introduces the concept of a football to Luiz

Back to basics: Brazil coach Mano Menezes introduces the concept of a football to Luiz

A good laugh: Sandro and Dede take part in an impromptu wheelbarrow race

A good laugh: Sandro and Dede take part in an impromptu wheelbarrow race

ed automatically and are touring the globe playing friendlies to keep up their match fitness.

On Thursday, they were in Malmo, Sweden and beat Iraq 6-0.

The game included a painful moment for Luiz, as goalkeeper Diego mistook his head for the ball as he came out to clear a cross.

Luiz required treatment but was able to complete the match.

David Luiz is punched by his own goalkeeper

Alessandro del Piero makes Sydney FC debut

Low turnout and defeat for Italian legend Del Piero as Sydney career starts slowly

PUBLISHED:

11:14 GMT, 6 October 2012

|

UPDATED:

11:14 GMT, 6 October 2012

Alessandro del Piero took his first tentative steps in Australian football on the losing team as his new Sydney FC club side was beaten 2-0 by the Wellington Phoenix in the opening round of the 10-team A-League.

Though short on match fitness, the 37-year-old former Juventus and Italy star played 90 minutes in a low-key debut that may not have lived up to the anticipation generated by his arrival in the A-League as its costliest and most high-profile signing.

Perfect 10: Alessandro Del Piero made his Sydney FC debut at Westpac Stadium, but it ended in defeat

Perfect 10: Alessandro Del Piero made his Sydney FC debut at Westpac Stadium, but it ended in defeat

Perfect 10: Alessandro Del Piero made his Sydney FC debut at Westpac Stadium, but it ended in defeat

Del Piero started up front for Sydney but generally dropped back into midfield and provided a series of classy touches in a team that was substantially outplayed.

He had unthreatening shots on goal in the 13th and 76th minutes but hinted at much better things to come when his fitness improves.

Saturday's match was played in wet and cool conditions in front of a crowd of 12,057 fans in a 34,500-capacity stadium that recently hosted a
rugby test between New Zealand and Argentina.

Brave new world: Del Piero moved to Australia after a whole career spent with Italian giants Juventus

Brave new world: Del Piero moved to Australia after a whole career spent with Italian giants Juventus

Brave new world: Del Piero moved to Australia after a whole career spent with Italian giants Juventus

Although his presence wasn't enough to carry Sydney to victory, he showed flashes of skill. He snapped a sharp, right-footed shot over the bar in the 13th minute in his first touch of the match and in the 76th minute, with more time, curled a long-range shot wide of the right-hand post.

In between those efforts he rolled deft passes into the path of teammates, showed the ability to turn and distribute the ball with a first touch that occasionally confounded defenders.

But the fireworks hoped for on his debut fizzled in damp and slippery conditions. And his thunder was stolen by two players making their Wellington debuts.

Forgot to tell the fans: The stadium was barely a third full as the legend made his A-League bow

Forgot to tell the fans: The stadium was barely a third full as the legend made his A-League bow

Forgot to tell the fans: The stadium was barely a third full as the legend made his A-League bow

Striker Stein Huysegems, who failed to score in 15 international matches for Belgium, scored in the 42nd minute of his first A-League match.
Huysegems ran onto a superb through ball from Manny Muscat, paused on the edge of the area and drove his low, left foot shot wide of the keeper.

Teenager Louis Fenton, also making his A-League debut, added a brilliant second goal with a diving header from a Muscat cross in the 74th minute.

Brazilian wonderkid Gabriel Muniz invited to train with Barcelona

Brave Brazilian wonderkid who was born without feet is invited to train with Barcelona

|

UPDATED:

16:32 GMT, 28 August 2012

When your dream is to become a footballer and play for Barcelona, nothing should get in your way – even if you have no feet.

An 11-year-old wonderkid from Brazil has been invited to meet his idol Lionel Messi and train with the Spanish club after his talents were spotted by scouts.

Schoolboy Gabriel Muniz, who was born without feet, will fly from his home in Brazil to take part in the Spanish club's summer training camp after impressing at their training academy in Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro.

Scroll down to watch Gabriel's skills

Gabriel Muniz, 11, who was born without feet, will realise a dream next month when he flies to Spain to take part in Barcelona's summer training camp

Bright-eyed ambition: Gabriel Muniz, 11, who was born without feet, will realise a dream next month when he flies to Spain to take part in Barcelona's summer training camp

Despite being born with malformation of both feet, fourth grader Muiz is one of the best footballers at his school and aspires to play like his idol Lionel Messi

Eyes on the ball: Despite being born with malformation of both feet, fourth grader Muiz is one of the best footballers at his school and aspires to play like his idol Lionel Messi

Despite his disability, Muniz is one of the best players at the school and captain of his gym class.

He can run, dribble, pass and strike the ball as well as any of his able-bodied teammates.

His best friend Lucas Santos spoke about his abilities on a video for The Sun: 'He is skillful, he goes after it [the ball], he is fearless and he knows how to organise plays. He also makes good passes.'

Mum Sandra was thrilled that her son will achieve his ambitions – especially since the family were too poor to pay for treatment after he was born.

She said: 'He started walking before he was one. We would go after him, expecting him to keep falling, but he never fell.'

Like many boys his age, Gabriel puts in countless hours of practice to hone his football skills

Practice makes perfect: Like many boys his age, Gabriel puts in countless hours of practice to hone his football skills

Brazilian wonderkid: Muniz has been invited to fly from his native country to meet his hero Messi at Barcelona's summer training camp

Brazilian wonderkid: Muniz has been invited to fly from his native country to meet his hero Messi at Barcelona's summer training camp

Gabriel's gym teacher Jose Lopes added: 'He is challenging the social norms. When he arrived there [at the Barcelona academy], no one believed in him.

'But he proved to everyone there he can go head to head with any other boy. So much so that he was invited to go to Spain next month, in September, to showcase his talent.'

Gabriel and his family hail from Campos dos Goytacazes, a city located 170 miles north-east of Rio.

Muniz shares a bed in a tiny house with his elder brother Mateus, and they get up at 6.30 every morning to bike to school. Like every child his age, he hates homework and household chores, instead spending all his spare time on the football pitch.

Rags to riches: Muniz shares a bedroom with his elder brother Mateus. As his sibling studies, Muniz attaches the prosthetic limb he wears to get around

Rags to riches: Muniz shares a bedroom with his elder brother Mateus. As his sibling studies, Muniz attaches the prosthetic limb he wears to get around

Soccer and study: The 11-year-old walks down one of the corridors at his school in the city of Campos dos Goytacazes

Soccer and study: The 11-year-old walks down one of the corridors at his school in the city of Campos dos Goytacazes

Top of the class: Gabriel chats with classmates. He is one of the best footballers at his school, despite his disability

Top of the class: Gabriel chats with classmates. He is one of the best footballers at his school, despite his disability

Gabriel wears a prosthetic ankle and foot to help him get around in rainy weather.

He knows that his disability means he'll never be able to play for a professional football team and so Gabriel is hoping that football will one day become a Paralympic sport.

DM.has('rcpv1809829174001','BCVideo');