By Chris Wright
After a story in a local paper about 11-year old Brazilian Barcelona fan Gabriel – a boy born with unformed feet who was still managing to rip it up for his school football team despite the obvious setback – caught the eye of someone within the Catalan club’s youth ranks, the wee chap was invited to come along on Barca’s summer training camp, meaning young Gabriel scored himself a week-long training course with Barcelona in the sunny climes of Rio de Janeiro.
Despite only having 11 years on the clock, Gabriel had always dreamed of training with Barcelona and he seized the opportunity to impress – with Dr. Maurice Smith, a member of the club’s sports science department, telling Globo:
“He passed all the test we give the children. Although he did not have both feet, he has terrific motor coordination. He stood out among the children of the same age!”
He even got to meet Deco, who had this to say:
“His story is gripping. Overcoming all that just demonstrates Gabriel’s ability to adapt and, ultimately, the pleasure of playing football.”