This is the life of Rodrygo: “Words have power. Man, I’m living proof.” 

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They say some kids are born to be footballers. I literally was. I should have arrived into this world on 25 December 2000, but you know what they say, right? Kids born late in the year have a smaller chance of making it. So my dad stepped in. When I was almost due, he told my mum, “HOLD THAT KID!”

She was like, “What are you talking about????”

He was like, “Just keep him in there for a few more days.”

Hahahahaha. Actually, I’ve got the big man right here.

Eric, Rodrygo’s dad

Man, I remember it so well. On the 25th I told my wife, Denise, “For the love of God, don’t let him be born now.” I was 16, at the start of my own career, and I knew that if he was born in December, he’d be the youngest in his age group and the kids born in January would be almost a year older. For a young player trying to stand out, that is a disaster. Denise often asked me, “But why?”

I was like, “Don’t worry, just do whatever you can to hold him up.” I wasn’t even gonna take her to the hospital!!

Caraca … 26th, 27th, 28th … Every day felt like a week. On the 31st we did the countdown. “Four, three, two, one … HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

I looked at the clock.

00:00, 1 January 2001.


The next few days I was stroking her belly saying, “It’s going to be a boy.” Our brothers and sisters had seven kids — all girls.

“He’s gonna be a footballer.…”

Man, I believed it.


My dad always said that words…