"I had to jump over dead bodies" - Manchester United star opens up on traumatic childhood
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Manchester United star Antony has opened up on the traumatic experiences he experienced during his childhood in Brazil.
Antony, 22, grew up in a favela outside the city of Osasco in Sao Paolo state, where he says he witnessed violence and death as a youngster.
He overcame those difficult conditions to make it as a professional footballer, recently joining United in a £86m move from Ajax this summer.
In an emotional article written in the The Players' Tribune, Antony reflected on his incredible journey from Brazil to Old Trafford.
"On my walk to school one morning, when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, I came across a man laying in the alley. He was not moving," he wrote.
"When I got closer, I realised he was dead. In the favela, you become kind of numb to these things. There was no other way to go, and I had to get to school. So I just closed my eyes and jumped over the dead body."
Antony: Fear? What is fear?
The Brazil international has made an impressive start to life at United, scoring three goals in six Premier League appearances since joining the club.
And he says the pressures of Premier League football are nothing compared to his childhood.
"I went from the slums to Ajax to Manchester United in three years," he added.
"People always ask me how I was able to "turn the key" so quickly. Honestly, it is because I feel no pressure on a football pitch. No fear. Fear? What is fear?
"When you grow up having to jump over dead bodies just to make it to school, you cannot be scared of anything in football. The things that I have seen, most football pundits can only imagine. There are things you cannot unsee."
Antony is well known for his skills on the pitch including a trademark move which sees him spin around with the ball at his feet.
The Brazil international has revealed he would use those same skills in the favela.
"Every day, my older brother would take me to the square to play football. In the favela, everyone plays. Kids, old men, teachers, construction workers, bus drivers, drug dealers, gangsters. There, everyone is equal," added Antony.
"In my father's time it was a dirt pitch. In my time, it was asphalt. In the beginning, I played barefoot, on bleeding feet. We did not have money for proper shoes. I was small, but I dribbled with a meanness that came from God.
"Dribbling was always something inside me. It was a natural instinct. And I refused to bow my head to anyone. I would elastico the drug dealers. Rainbow the bus drivers. Nutmeg the thieves. I really did not give a f***.
"With a ball at my feet, I had no fear."
Antony is now set to represent Brazil at the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
He was included in head coach Tite's 26-man squad for the tournament, which begins on November 20.