Football has been a saviour for many a top player, as Tottenham winger Lucas Moura has now described how it kept him from a life of crime.
Moura grew up in an extremely deprived area of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most dangerous city. It has competed for the highest murder rate in South America for many years now.
Since football has changed his life, Lucas ensured that his family could move to a better area in the Brazilian city, but things are still far from perfect.
Moura still has both friends and cousins living in the same deprived area as he did when he was a child, and he says things are now worse than ever.
The pacey forward described how football steered him onto a better path, and his dedication to become a top player kept him from going a ‘bad way.’
He described this dedication and a good education as reasons for his success.
The Evening Standard report Moura said: “It was very difficult when I was young because there are problems with violence, gangs, guns, drugs – a criminal life.
“I had friends that choose a criminal life. Some of them are in prison and some of them are dead. They chose the bad way.
“I played a lot of football in the street. My dream was to become a footballer – that’s why I didn’t go to the bad way. I always believed I could realise my dream and give another life to my family. My parents showed me the good way. The education I had with them and my dream to become a footballer never let me go off the path. It’s impossible to imagine doing anything else because I always had in my head that I would be a footballer.
“Sao Paulo is worse now than 10 years ago – the violence is worse,” he said. “My parents and brothers don’t live in the same place but I have some friends and cousins who still live there. When I’m in Brazil and I go there to visit them, it can be scary. At night there are a lot of carjackings. The situation there is very difficult.
“Of course, I think about it. My parents live in a good house now. But it’s Brazil, it’s Sao Paulo. When I’m here I’m always thinking about them because it’s very dangerous there. Here is so different – you can walk in the streets at night. It’s life. But I believe in God and my family’s protection. When I have a bad moment – for example the last six months in Paris, when I didn’t play – God was my structure.”
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