Hero against Mexico, Santos overcame suffering in childhood and is now the Brazilian hope for gold

Hero against Mexico, Santos overcame suffering in childhood and is now the Brazilian hope for gold

One of the most prominent elements of the Brazilian National Team at the Tokyo Olympics is Santos, who saved a penalty in the semifinal against Mexico that guaranteed a place in the final against Spain.

The youngest of eight siblings had a humble childhood on the farm in the small town of Cabaceiras-PB (five thousand inhabitants) with his family of farmers. He even helped his parents a bit with homework, but he managed to fulfill his dream of being a soccer player.

“I did not work on fixed things, but I always did some things to earn some money and have a moment of leisure or buy something. I am the youngest and I did not have so many obligations,” he said. Saints to ESPN in 2019.

After standing out for the Porto-PE in the São Paulo Junior Soccer Cup in 2008, he went to Athletico-PR and there he saw his life change. Before standing out, he had to wait a few years for a chance with the pros.

“I had the patience, the peace of mind and the perseverance to pursue and get where I wanted to,” he said.

A great admirer of Dida, the archer has a profile similar to that of the idol: he is a more reserved, calm type and does not usually make flashy statements.

“He had a way of playing very different from the others, he was very calm. I imitated him and I have a lot of admiration for him.”

As the former goalkeeper of Milan, Santos stands out from the line in the penalty shootout. In the Onbendorf Tournament, in Germany, Atlético-PR beat Borussia Dortmund in the final – which had Mario Gotze – with two penalties saved by Santos.

In the first team, he also shone in the disputes of the titles of the Copa Sudamericana 2018 and Copa do Brasil 2019.

Against Flamengo took two penalties in the Maracana, for the quarterfinals of the Copa do Brasil. In the semifinal against Grêmio (5-4 win on penalties), he took the penalty from Pepe.

“At the moment of the penalty, it is a mental game and whoever is more prepared and with total concentration wins the best. Of course we train, but that moment of concentration is you and the kicker at that moment. The rest of the world forgets. In practice what you work and believe, “he reported.

With all the prominence, Saints was summoned several times by Tite for the main Brazilian team and was called up by André Jardine for the Games. In five games, he has conceded just three goals.

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