Everton star Richarlison has revealed that his life could have turned out very differently had he not become a professional footballer.
Richarlison hails from Brazil, a country that has a reputation for producing some of the finest footballers on Earth.
Unsurprisingly, the Brazil national team has won the World Cup five times which is the most of any nation.
In spite of their football brilliance, the football-mad nation has high levels of inequality and poverty which unfortunately results in high levels of gangster activity.
After an impressive season with Watford last term, the 21-year-old earned a move to Everton this summer.
He may be currently serving a three-match Premier League ban for a red card, however, the youngster has impressed for Marco Silva’s side so far.
He has managed two goals from the three League games that he has played for the Toffees so far.
His form for the Merseysiders even earned him a call-up to the Brazil national team and he made his international debut during the Selecao’s 2-0 friendly international win against the US on Friday.
In what will inspire many, Richarlison has revealed that he rose beyond difficult conditions to achieve his dream of playing professionally.
As quoted by The Mirror, he said: “A lot of my friends are in jail or dead, as they got caught up in the world of drugs and guns. I was in the middle of it all. Where I lived was a drug-dealing spot. I never got involved in any of it,”
“I had no trainers to play so I went barefoot. Everyone else had trainers. I also remember running 9km to training one day with ripped trainers. The sock kept coming out of the shoe, so I’d have to stop and tuck it in.
“My coach told me to never give up, as I was still very young. I continued working towards my dream.”