New Manchester United signing Antony has described his difficult journey to the top, in his exclusive signing interview with club media.
The 22-year-old grew up in the favelas of Sao Paulo and admitted that he and his family often went hungry.
However, the former Ajax winger sees his tough upbringing as all being worth it now he has clinched his dream move to Old Trafford.
“I went through a lot, a lot of difficult moments in my life. I know that this will be another challenge,” Antony told our reporter, Mark Sullivan.
“I went through a lot in the past. No football boots, nothing to eat, bailing water out of my house at three or four o’clock in the morning as it had flooded.
“They were very difficult times but I went through them all with a smile. I’m certain it was all worth it as I’m reaping the rewards now for what was planted in the past. Those moments have contributed to everything I’m now experiencing.
“I have another challenge now and a lot of stories to tell you, I’ll tell you more another day. I feel honoured to be here after everything I went through in the past. Today I can see it was all worth it.”
Antony is proud of his younger years and he was happy to expand on some of the problems he faced.
He added that football was the only option he had to create a better life for him and his family and that fortunately, through talent and hard work, his dream eventually came true.
“I played in my community, I lived in a favela, I lived there until I started playing professionally at Sao Paulo,” the Brazil international said.
“People wouldn’t believe that after seeing me on TV, I’d be going back home to the favela at full-time.
“I didn’t have the means to leave. My memories are playing barefoot as I didn’t have any boots, playing on the yard with my friends, from afternoon ‘til evening playing football there. They are happy memories, I’m not embarrassed to share them.
“Everything I went through was worth it to be having this experience here today. I’ve always been very persistent, when I want something I go after it until I get it. I always had plan A to be a professional footballer, there was no plan B.
“It was always plan A, I was going to carry out plan A to make it and fulfil mine and my family’s dream. I always had this in mind, I can’t imagine what I might have become, as I always believed I’d make it regardless of the difficulties I would face. I’m fulfilling my dream.”
Through every major moment in his career, from moving to Europe for the first time to winning Olympic gold with Brazil, Antony has enjoyed the support of his close family.
He revealed that there were tears of pride when they found out he was joining United.
“My mum was calling me every day, my dad was messaging me, my sister as well – ‘What’s happening?’ ‘Has it worked out?’ ‘Anything wrong?’ They seemed more anxious than I was!
“When I told them the news they cried a lot. I come from a very humble family so whenever we achieve anything we thank God and remember everything we’ve been through to get here.
“Only me and my family know what we went through, the dangers we faced as well. We always remember everything we’ve been through to be living our dreams today.”