In surprising news this week, Sheffield United completed the signing of 17-year-old Brazilian youngster Fernando Macedo.

It’s rare to see South Americans joining the academy of English clubs, due to visa and work permit issues. And since the winger didn’t seem to have a past at any big side in his home country, the story was even more curious.

Now to bring us a little more light, Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte features a good piece on Fernandinho’s move to the Blades, explaining how he managed to join a Championship side.

Their piece explains that his mother was the first to leave Brazil for England, to work. Her son had been playing for Brazilian sides such as Água Santa and Red Bull Bragantino, by whom he was released when injured in 2018. That’s when he decided to move to the UK as well.

So the youngster had been living in London to improve his English, while keeping his physical shape and training at a smaller club. There he had several tests, which didn’t succeed due to the ‘lack of adaptation, especially physical, or attempted contractual coups, and even prejudice’.

“It was difficult. That’s why I even get emotional,” says Fernandinho’s mother Daniele Macedo.

“I believe a lot of people have no idea. It’s difficult to adapt to the country, especially for a 17-year-old boy in search of his dream. He often thought about stopping: ‘I can’t take it anymore’.

“However, I’ve always believed everything we’ve heard, that we’ve lived since he started at 5, 6 years old, about his talent. As I always say, ‘It was never luck. It’s God’. Besides the work.”

So in the summer, a Sheffield United scout watched Fernandinho featuring in an amateur tournament and gave him a chance with the Blades. Globo Esporte points out that since he was already a resident and his mother works in the country, there were no legal issues stopping him from signing.

“It’s like I say: ‘It’s God first, and his dedication’. A path full of improbabilities, at times I also questioned myself,” says his mother.