Everton star Bernard has revealed that his father was the 'driving force' behind the Brazilian succeeding as a professional footballer – after paying for medicine to make him stronger.
The diminutive winger arrived on Merseyside on a free transfer from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk during the summer and has quickly established himself as a regular in Marco Silva’s setup this term.
However, Bernard has spoken of the difficulties he faced growing up in his attempts to make it as a professional, as he stressed the importance of ‘persistence’ in his development. The Brazilian told the Mail: “In my life that’s what I’ve had to do.
“The amount of people who told me I would not get anywhere and I wouldn’t make it. So persist is the word of my life. I’m here because of persistence.”
Bernard has a tattoo on his neck which carries the same sentiment. The playmaker faced not only the typical struggles in making the cut as a professional footballer in terms of technical ability, but also the prejudice against him in Brazil due to his small physical stature.
Furthermore, Bernard also had to overcome the shock of experiencing the civil war during his time in Ukraine. Nonetheless, the 5' 5" attacker has adapted in fine style to the rigours of the Premier League.
“Look at me,” the 26-year-old added. “I’m not going to win a physical battle, am I?”
Bernard admitted that the support of his father was key in helping him to deal with the physical demands in life and in football, as he revealed: “I received treatment for my size when I was younger and it was very expensive.
“My father couldn’t afford it but, somehow, he found the resources to help me and pay for the treatment. It wasn’t hormone injections. It was more to do with my diet and nutrition.
“I need medicine and supplements and I would have a special syrup before I went to bed. With this medical support, it got me to the place that I needed.
“Dad always watches football. He loves it! He was my driving force. In the moments I had doubts, he would fill me with belief.
“He kept saying: ‘with your qualities, you will make it.’ I thought about giving up at times but he wouldn’t let me. You remember your family: they drive your dreams. I have to stress what he did for me – 35 years he worked without ever taking a holiday.
“When I moved to Donetsk, he came over with me. It was time for me to do something for him. He could forget about work and enjoy his life. He deserved the rest!”