Brian Soares Duarte has revealed Crystal Palace came close to helping him fulfil his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

The Belgian spent three years in Crystal Palace’s youth teams, but wasn’t able to land a professional contract with the Eagles.

Saturday’s edition of Gazet van Antwerpen published an interview with Brian Soares Duarte, where he opened up on why he couldn’t make it at Crystal Palace or any other club.

He’s no longer focusing on the pitch and now works as an analyst at lower division Belgian side Lierse SK. Brian Soares Duarte also talks about Belgian football on Koolcast Sport.

Gazet van Antwerpen say his career took a ‘few detours’ before he landed himself a job as an analyst.

After discussing how the Belgian managed to get into analysis and the route he took to get the job at Lierse, the newspaper pointed out to him that he was close to making it as a player.

They asked him whether being an analyst is ‘just as satisfying’, and when responding to that, he opened up about his spell at Crystal Palace.

“I’m not going to be silly about that: it was my childhood dream to become a professional footballer,” he said.

“I played for Crystal Palace’s youth academy for three years and even had a semi-professional contract with a Spanish fourth division club. Serious injuries and Covid have thrown a spanner in the works. But I’m also level-headed enough to realise that maybe I wasn’t good enough.

“When it became clear that I would no longer be a professional footballer, I was in quite a deep state of mind. Football was and is my only passion. I went to therapy for a while to rediscover myself.

“Luckily Koolcast crossed my path afterwards. In recent years we have been visited by top players such as Radja Nainggolan and Jan Vertonghen. I recently saw that Romelu Lukaku started following me on Instagram. He promised that he will come by sometime. I find that really surreal. Those were all childhood idols of mine, right? And I will also soon be able to start as a video analyst at Lierse. I would never have dared to dream that a few years ago.”