My Inspiration: 'He's why I got into football'
Manchester United midfielder Fred has paid tribute to the unique contribution made to his career by his grandfather.
On the day we celebrate fathers in the UK (Sunday 21 June) it's perhaps appropriate that the Brazilian mentioned a paternal influence, when asked who had most inspired his rise in professional football.
The 27-year-old, who joined United in the summer of 2018 from Shakhtar Donetsk, has become an important influence on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team during 2019/20, but his story began years ago, back in Belo Horizonte, with a simple dream and a grandfather that was a pillar of strength.
“He's someone that always helped me,” explained Fred. “He always took me to the football academy when I was a child. He went everywhere with me. He was someone who really instilled me with this dream to become a football player. I'm really grateful to him.
“Did he play football? No! He just helped me a lot. He took me to training. When I didn't have enough money to get the bus to training, he'd give it to me, or give me a lift. He was someone who always really helped me with these things, you know. He inspired me. I got into football because of him.”
The left-footer was also keen to acknowledge his mother, who was another hugely supportive figure to him, as a youngster.
When Fred joined Porto Alegre at the age of 16, he and his mum travelled over 1000 miles south from Belo Horizonte to try and progress his career. It was a big leap of faith, given that the club was only the third biggest in the city, behind Gremio and Internacional.
“I'm very grateful to all my family, especially my mum of course,” he told us, in the latest of our My Inspiration series. “My mum left her job to allow me to pursue my dreams, coming along with me.
“But the person who really inspired me was my grandfather. He'll always have a very special place in my heart.”
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