Antony opens up on his childhood struggles: “I went through a lot in the past... we had nothing to eat."
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Manchester United have officially announced the signing of Brazilian winger Antony.
The fee for the player is around £85 million with a further £4 million in add-ons.
Antony had a rough childhood growing up, and lived in an area on the outskirts of Sao Paulo that is nicknamed ‘Little Hell’.
Speaking to club media, Antony described his relationship with Sao Paulo and their youth team.
“I was at the club from the age of 12 until I was 19,” the 22-year-old derailed. “I'm really grateful, they know how grateful I am and how much affection I have for them.
“I follow the club whenever I have the time, I feel very grateful for everything. I spoke to a few players at Sao Paulo I'm friends with, I've spoken to the club president too.
“I'm really happy with the affection and respect not just from them but also from the fans, I hope to give my all here, though whenever there's time I'll be following Sao Paulo.”
During Antony’s childhood, he and his family did not have enough money to pay for a comfortable living.
Antony painted a picture of the moments of live he endured as a child. “I went through a lot, a lot of difficult moments in my life. I know that this will be another challenge.
“I went through a lot in the past, no football boots, nothing to eat, 3 or 4 in the morning bailing water out of my house as it had flooded. They were very difficult times but I went through it all with a smile.
“I'm certain it was all worth it as I'm reaping the rewards now for what was planted in the past. Those moments have contributed to everything I'm now experiencing. I have another challenge now and a lot of stories to tell you, I'll tell you more another day.
“I feel honoured to be here after everything I went through in the past. Today I can see it was all worth it.”
Outside of football, Antony is very much a family man. When asked on who his idol is, he said: “My brother, he's here with me now as well. He's somebody I see as my idol, always been alongside me throughout my life, during the saddest and happiest times.
“I want him to experience everything alongside me. I love him dearly and he's my greatest idol.”
When he was playing football as a young boy, he mentioned how he used to still live in a favela when he started playing professionally for Sao Paulo.
“I played in my community, I lived in a favela, I lived there until I started playing professionally at Sao Paulo. People wouldn't believe that after seeing me on TV I'd be going back home to the favela at full-time. I didn't have the means to leave.”
Antony was asked on his earliest childhood memories of playing football. “My memories are playing barefoot as I didn't have any boots, playing on the yard with my friends, from afternoon ‘til evening playing football there,” he described.
“They are happy memories, I'm not embarrassed to share them. Everything I went through was worth it to be having this experience here today. I've always been very persistent, when I want something I go after it until I get it.
“I always had plan A to be a professional footballer, there was no plan B. It was always plan A, I was going to carry out plan A to make it and fulfil mine and my family's dream. I always had this in mind, I can't imagine what I might have become, as I always believed I'd make it regardless of the difficulties I would face. I'm fulfilling my dream.”
Antony is set to make his Manchester United debut against Arsenal on Sunday as his signature was not completed in time to play Leicester City on Thursday.
Featured Image Credit: Manchester United
Topics: Manchester United, Antony, Brazil