Antony being interviewed at Carrington.

Full transcript: Antony's signing interview

Thursday 01 September 2022 11:00

Antony has conducted his first interview as a Manchester United player following his transfer from Ajax – and it’s everything you want to read from a new signing.

The Brazilian sat down with us at Carrington for an in-depth conversation about his move to Old Trafford, discussing his relationships with Erik ten Hag, Lisandro Martinez and our Brazilian internationals, as well as his impressions of the club and our incredible global fanbase. 

As you can read in the full transcript below, Antony also opens up on his tough upbringing and how it continues to drive him forward. Check out the Q&A in full here…

Antony, welcome to Manchester United. How do you feel to join the club? 
“First of all, I’m really happy to be here at Manchester United. It’s my dream come true. I’m really grateful for the support and faith shown in me by everyone here. I want to make history here, I hope to achieve great things with the club. I’m delighted and honoured to look at my chest and see that I’m wearing the badge of this massive club.”  
You’ve been linked with a move here virtually from the moment Erik ten Hag took over – how’s the summer been for you?  
“Erik ten Hag is an excellent coach. I’ve got tremendous respect and affection for him. From the moment I arrived at Ajax he treated me so well and put his faith in me. It’s not by chance I had such a great run of form under him for two years. We developed this mutual trust and closeness. He's a manager I have respect and affection for – when I found out he was moving here I wished him all the best and all the success he deserves. Now I'm alongside him once again, I hope to make history and develop and grow further under his management.”   
How grateful are you to Ajax for your time there? 
“It goes without saying, it was the club that opened their doors to me from the moment I arrived. They made me feel so welcome and at home. Today I have a new challenge and Ajax were an important part of this for having opened their doors to me. I'm really grateful, I can only thank them for everything.”
Antony | The signing interview Video

Antony | The signing interview

When you watch Antony's signing interview, you'll understand why Erik ten Hag loves him as both a player and a person...

You aren't the only Brazilian at Manchester United. You join Casemiro and Fred – how excited are you to do so? 
“Firstly, I'm really happy to meet the Brazilians here. I'm really happy to be reunited with them again from the national team, now we're here together. I hope to learn a lot from them. Fred's talked to me about the club, I hope to make history with them here at Manchester United and grow and develop alongside my two fellow Brazilians.”  
Your link with United has been a long one, Casemiro only just arrived. You know him through the international set-up and is it also a bond that you both came through at Sao Paulo? 
“Absolutely, we come from the same Sao Paulo youth team. We never played together because of the age difference but to be sharing a dressing room and pitch and playing alongside him now is really something special. I'm really happy that we've both come from the same place, the Sao Paulo youth set-up and today we're playing together at this great club. As we've said in messages to each other, we hope to write our names in the club's history.”  
I imagine now there might be fans in Sao Paulo following Manchester United this season. Does it give you a sense of pride that you can achieve things for those fans back in Brazil?  
“Definitely, I was at the club from the age of 12 until I was 19. 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.” 
And you already now Lisandro from your time at Ajax. How much are you looking forward to linking up with him again? 
“We spent two years together at Ajax. We developed a really strong friendship. I've got a lot of respect for him and his family who I got to know as well. I'm glad we're back together again to make history. He messaged me today and yesterday. He's a great friend that I've made in football. Now we're back together and we've spoken about achieving great things together here.”  
And he is tough, competitive, fans love him already. What was he like to train against?  
“Martinez has his Argentinian style, we know it well. I love it and it motivates me to see him play. The way he competes, the way he plays he gives his heart and soul on the pitch. I have the same personality he knows me well and knows what I'm like. I put my body on the line – blood, sweat and tears. If I need to leave the pitch really hurting no problem, it's my life, it's my job. Watching Martinez, I know him well, up close. He's a great player we can all see, people recognise this, Martinez is a craque.” 
Antony, as a footballer, how would you describe yourself as an attacker and what do you most enjoy on the pitch? 
“My strength is my technique, dribbling, creativity. I think creativity in attack is my main strength Dribbling, passing, playing good balls into my teammates, I think these are my strengths and the difference I make.”  
What do you most enjoy on the pitch? 
“Dribbling – it's the Brazilian way, isn't it? Dribbling, speed, scoring goals and celebrating with the fans and everyone else.”  
Have you always been a winger, even as a junior in Sao Paulo? 
“Always, I've played right wing, I've played as a no.10 and on the left wing so I've played in three different positions.”
There are no shortage of world-class Brazilian attackers, historically and presently. Did you have a role model and hero as a youngster?  
“There are a lot, but as I really like dribbling it would be Ronaldinho Gaucho and Ronaldo as well. They are players I always admired because of their dribbling, something I have always liked and I carry it with me today. There are a lot of players though these two stand out for me.”   
Were there any other United players you enjoyed watching historically? This club has a long history of legendary wingers who like to excite fans and take players on? 
“There are a lot, Nani for example. There are a lot of other players. I hope to continue in this tradition of exciting the fans and pleasing the crowd with my football, not just dribbling and attacking play but if I need to put in a slide tackle, track back, help with marking, there'll be no shortage of desire. I hope to provide continuity here, we have to respect the weight and tradition of the shirt.”  
On to the manager then, Erik ten Hag, who you worked with in Amsterdam – what impact did Erik have on you as a player and as a person? 
“When I arrived, I started settling in and getting to know people. Erik got to know me and knows what I'm like. He knows what my daily work is like, how I train, how I give 100 per cent in games and this trust grew and developed. His confidence in me grew as he got to know me better and I'm really happy and grateful to see his confidence in my game from my time at Ajax. He knew what type of person I was, my work ethic. I'm really grateful and Erik has all my respect and affection and it will be a privilege and an honour to be working with him again.”  
And for yourself and your team-mates at Ajax, how does he improve players? 
“What stands out about him for me is his intelligence. His tactical knowledge, game strategy, attacking play and pressing game that I know very well after working with him for two years. With Erik's style, I was always watching Manchester United from home and I could see this style and see myself here working with him again. What really stands out about Erik is his intelligence.”  
How does it make you feel knowing Erik fought so hard to get you here? 
“Really, really, really grateful and happy. I embraced him just now and thanked him in person for believing in my signing. I was really excited and looking forward to coming here and putting on this shirt. I'm grateful for the faith and confidence from Erik, not just Erik but all the directors here at Manchester United. I feel really grateful and happy and rest assured I will repay this faith on the pitch by giving 100 per cent.”
Did you see the Liverpool game, what did you make of the performance and what most stood out for you from it? 
“Of course I watched it. When United scored I celebrated as if I was a fan in the stands. I watched the game closely and attentively, what stood out was the desire, the unity of the team, the fire in their bellies, the desire to play. That's what delighted me about the team. I absolutely watched the game, every minute of it and was really happy with the win and celebrated a lot.”   

Did that make you even more hungry to be part of that atmosphere on these big nights at Old Trafford? 
“I've been dreaming about this, I've been losing sleep thinking about it, my head and heart were here. Erik knows, everyone at Manchester United knows about my desire to be here and wear the United shirt. I can't wait to put my boots on and start playing and helping my teammates, I'm really looking forward to it.”  
Antony, we want to get to know you a little better. How would you describe yourself off the pitch? 
“I'm a very relaxed and family-orientated person, I've got my son who I love to spend time with. I like being at home with friends, chatting and having a laugh. I'm very family-orientated and a home body, but I like to have a lot of people in my house, friends to have a good time and a laugh with.”  
I've read lots about your early life – it sounds like no challenge will be too great for you because of what you've gone through as a youngster. What was it like growing up in Sao Paulo? 
“A long story. 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.”  
Your brother was your superhero when you were growing up? 
“Yes, 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.”
What are your earliest memories of playing football and where did you play? 
“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. 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. 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.”   
Outside of football I hear you’re a family man. That is vitally important but do you have any other interests outside of football? What do you like to do on your days off?  
“Depends, I go out for a walk with my son or I'll go shopping and buy something, play cards with friends to take your mind of things and enjoy your day off. Depends upon the day, I go out with my family or with friends to do something or go out to eat, or I stay at home playing cards, video games or pool.”  
Your family – how excited are they to be joining Manchester United? 
“My mum was calling me every day, my dad was messaging me, my sister as well – 'What's happening?' 'Has it worked out?' 'Anything wrong?' They seemed more anxious than I was! When I told them the news they cried a lot. I come from a very humble family so whenever we achieve anything we thank God and remember everything we've been through to get here. Only me and my family know what we went through, the dangers we faced as well. We always remember everything we've been through to be living our dreams today.”  
Finally, what is your message to the Manchester United fans who are so excited to see you join? 
“A big thank you first of all, for all the affection I've received, for their faith in me as well. I've felt it from some fans, I've received messages. I'm really grateful and happy. It's a dream come true to be wearing this shirt. They can expect a lot of desire, dedication and fight from me, I always play with a lot of heart. I will always honour the fans with desire, fire in my belly, and full of heart. They can be rest assured that all the effort and challenges for me to be here will have been worth it. Thank you very much, we have great things to achieve together.”