Everton's club-record £50m man Richarlison has spoken out on his rough upbringing on the streets of Nova Venecia, and how he turned his back on a life of crime in order to realise his dreams of becoming a football star.
The 21-year-old saw a number of his close friends imprisoned or killed as a result of the illegal drug trade in his hometown, in a time where it would've been very easy for a young Richarlison to follow suit to earn money.
However, he has revealed how he was able to turn a blind eye to that side of his poverty-stricken upbringing.
Speaking to the Mirror, Richarlison 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."
At the age of 10, Richarlison joined a local football academy where he continued to endure hardships. “I had no trainers to play so I went barefoot," he added.
"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.”
When a chance to join Figueirense arose, Richarlison travelled almost 9,000 km away from Nova Venecia only to be rejected by the club, and endured a 10-hour wait in a bus station in order to get home.
He recalled: “My coach told me to never give up, as I was still very young. I continued working towards my dream."
Following that rejection, Richarlison travelled to Belo Horizonte with no money to get home. He impressed second-tier side America Mineiro and was finally taken on, going on to help the club win promotion.
“It was a wonderful year because it was the year I achieved my goal of buying a house for my dad," said Richarlison.
He is now the Toffees' all-time record transfer and one of the Premier League's most promising talents, despite a lukewarm start to his England career with Watford. Richarlison has finally earned the ultimate token of success, getting a call-up to play for the Brazil national team during the international hiatus.