'Brazilians are born with a passion for football'
Fred became the first Manchester United player for six years to wear the iconic yellow jersey of Brazil when he started Saturday's friendly win over USA in New Jersey.
Here, in this interview first published in United Review, the Reds' summer signing from Shakhtar Donetsk discusses his pride at representing one of the world's most respected national teams and the Brazilian players he idolised before following in their footsteps.
"I’ve watched loads of great players, but in my opinion the best players I’ve ever seen are not just my heroes, but heroes for all Brazilians. I’d say Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Romário are my favourite three players from the national team. The best Brazil side I’ve ever seen was the one that won the World Cup in 2002."
"Like many people say, Brazil is the country of football – many kids there are sent to footballing schools by their parents; it’s as if they’re born with that passion to play the game. Brazil has so many talented players, there are some great ones coming through right now, and there are some who are already at the top of their game, like Neymar and Philippe Coutinho. I think football is in the blood of all Brazilians."
REPRESENTING THE SELEÇÃO
"It’s an honour to wear the Brazil shirt, one which so many other talented players have worn. I’m really happy to have been involved in a World Cup, and I hope I can carry on doing my best with Brazil, wearing the famous yellow shirt. It’s a dream come true for me, and I hope I can keep playing for Brazil for many years to come."
"Unfortunately, I suffered an injury in the lead-up to the World Cup. I wanted to play in the World Cup – I think if I had been 100 per cent fit I could’ve played. But it was an incredible experience, just to be involved with the national team in a World Cup, like so many other players and legends had done so before me. It was an honour for me, and like I said I want to be involved in World Cups in the future. I’ll keep working hard here at Manchester United so that the manager keeps picking me for the national team."
UNITED'S OTHER BRAZILIANS
"I don’t know Rafael and Fabio, but Anderson is a really lively guy, a really cheerful guy. That’s what Brazilians are like – we’re always having a laugh, we’re always smiling, and my aim is to bring this spirit into the dressing room and onto the pitch, to play with a smile on my face. This helps for me settling in, and the football side of things too."
"I’ve always liked the number 17 – I think it goes back to my childhood in Brazil, when I’d wear number 7 or 17. I ended up becoming quite attached to this number, but it has no special meaning, it’s just a number I like a lot, and I’m sure I’ll do well with this number."
Fred was speaking to Adam Marshall for United Review, the match programme at Old Trafford. Issues are available from sportmediashop.com.