There is an old adage in football pertaining to both players and supporters: it is said that the obsessives “eat, drink and sleep” football. And that is certainly the case as far as Manchester United midfield ace Fred is concerned.
Brazilian schemer Fred, who is aged 25, switched to Old Trafford from Shakhtar Donetsk over the summer in a deal worth said to be worth around £52million.
Jose Mourinho has eased him into life at the Theatre of Dreams but the early promise he has shown, with an assured style combining pragmatism with no lack of flair, seems to indicate that he will become a mainstay for the club.
And it is little wonder given that he has admitted to playing football in his dreams, as a youngster, to the point where it appeared he was sleep walking his way through an important game.
“One of my brothers used to say that when I was sleeping I would say things, as if I was playing football. He said that I used to scream, especially when there was a final coming up with school, and I would wake up and tell him to pass the ball, to shoot at the goal. I never realised.”
Aside from dream displays for the Manchester United cause, Fred has lifted the lid on his transition from life in Ukraine to moving to England and his fondness for staying in touch with his roots — even to the point of cooking up a traditional Brazilian meal from time to time.
“I do a lot of FaceTime. I’m always calling my family and friends from Brazil. What I miss the most is being around them. My mother, my father, my grandmother – I call them quite a lot. Brazilian food also helps a lot when I’m homesick. We are always cooking rice, beans, steak and farofa — a toasted flour dish — at my house.”
Of course, it isn’t that difficult enjoying the odd reminder of home in a city such as Manchester with, the blue half of Manchester, in the shape of Pepe Guardiola’s City, boasting several Samba stars. And Fred explains:
“My wife talks a lot with Fernandinho and Ederson’s wives. For the players, the fixtures and training schedules are very different so we end up not having time.
“I hang out more with the United squad — Andreas Pereira and the players who speak Spanish. Even those who speak English. We meet after work to play video games and have dinner. It is important for the team. Paul Pogba, Andreas, Eric Bailly — we are close friends.”
It is yet to be seen if Fred gets the nod when United are back in action this forthcoming weekend when they go to Stamford Bridge to play a mouth-watering Premier League fixture against Chelsea. We can be sure he won’t get caught napping on the ball if he does play against the title-chasing Blues!