manchester-united’s-86-million-signing-antony-has-an-inspirational-story,-he-came-from-nothing

Manchester United’s £86 million signing Antony has overcome a series of challenges to get to where he is today.

The Brazilian was a top target for Erik ten Hag, who worked with him at Ajax, and eventually United were able to do a deal to make the 22-year-old the most expensive player to leave the Eredivisie.

Image: AlamyBut Antony has come a long way to get to this point. He grew up in a favela nicknamed ‘Little Hell’ in Osasco, Sao Paulo and had absolutely nothing as a kid.

Stricken by poverty, he couldn’t afford football boots and didn’t even have a bedroom. He and his siblings would have to get rid of water that had flooded their house, while drug dealers were right on the doorstep.

Police once raided his house in what would have been a frightening ordeal for him to experience as a youngster.

Antony has opened about his difficult upbringing in a new interview with Sky Sports and it really does put things in perspective.

“I was just a humble little boy from a favela,” he said.

“I didn’t have boots to play football. I didn’t have a bedroom, I slept on the sofa.

“I lived in the very middle of the favela. Twenty yards from my house there were drug dealers. Sometimes you would be watching a game on a Sunday and there would be that smell, a smell of cannabis coming into the house.

“There were moments, my brother, my sister and I would cry and hug each other thinking about our lives. 

“There were times in the middle of the night, we were bailing water out of our flooded house, but we’d still do it with a smile on our faces.”

Antony joined the youth ranks at Sao Paulo and eventually sealed a £13 million move to Ajax, with whom he won two Eredivisie league titles.

Image: AlamyHis transfer fee for the United move has been a huge talking point, with a big spotlight on his performances.

But given what he’s been through in the past, Antony is not fazed by the pressure.

He is quoted as saying: “Real pressure was when I lived in a favela and left for school at nine in the morning not sure whether I would be able to eat again until nine in the night. That’s some pressure. Otherwise, we can all adapt.”