In Part One of this two part segment we looked at Roberto Firmino’s journey from being one of the many Brazilian teenagers who were good at football, up until he signed with Liverpool and what he has done as a player, for club and country. In Part Two, we take a closer look at the man we’ve come to know as Bobby (Dazzler!), in his own words.
On what it was like to leave home at 16 to play football
It was really difficult to leave my family to go to the south and my mother cried every day. From the moment I left CRB I was away from my family for a year. For a 16-year-old, that’s quite difficult. But that is life. You have to chase your dreams and thankfully I am here today.
On how his parents felt about his football dreams when he was growing up
When I was a kid, sometimes mum and dad didn’t really want me to play football. They wanted me to study. Occasionally they would even lock me in at home and I would have to jump the wall at the back to play football! But today I am here, and I am thankful of that. My mum remembers those times. She mentions it sometimes. I tell her it was for a good cause!
On his decision to join Hoffenheim
I was never scared. I was always very decisive. I knew I wanted to go. I knew it would be hard with the weather and the language and the culture. But I went as a guerreiroa (warrior) and overcame the challenge.
On what Coutinho told him about life in Liverpool
He was very honest with me. He said the weather here – not just Liverpool but England – was not very good. He said it rains all day and now I can see that it really does rain a lot. But he also said the club is like a family, that the players are very nice - and I trusted him on that. I really wanted to come.
On his instinct infront of goal
When I was very young, I used to play football with very small nets. Occasionally, we had keepers, but generally I was practising scoring using very small, empty nets. I used to be quite successful, even with a keeper on the line, and I think this is the reason why I was able to score, because I used to try it in training with my youth teams. Now, things have become easier for me in small gaps because of this.
On Jürgen Klopp’s managerial style (two months after Klopp had joined Liverpool)
I was really happy, I hadn’t really been playing up to that point and he knew me and I knew him. We get on well. He gets on with all the players. He has made a really good impression. The German mentality is really good and it is something that I also have a bit of too. I speak German to him but I can understand a lot of English already because I am studying. He’s an excellent coach. He managed Dortmund and has won titles in the Bundesliga, which is very difficult. He has always been really competitive in the Champions League … he’s having an effect already. I think we can achieve things. His Dortmund team were difficult to play against. They defended very well and they were good on the ball. I have played against him and scored against Dortmund. I made assists against them. I have good memories. From now on I hope we can do some of that together. He has that German pressing game. We have taken that and put it into practice already, in just one month. I like his philosophy.
On playing as a striker and scoring and winning as a team
I wasn’t a striker before, but as I’ve been adapting into this position I’ve liked more and more. I feel really comfortable and really adapted to it. I’d like to continue playing there for the rest of my career. I’m always very happy to score and to give assists, give passes - that’s also hugely important. I work hard and I want to help my teammates. It’s not always the goal itself, though the goal is the fruit of the work we’ve done, which is why, of course, when I score, it’s always good. I always enjoy scoring for my team and I always plan to do my best and try and help the team with goals. That makes me very happy because I am know I am helping the team when I score. I intend to score as many goals as I can to continue helping us to win. I think that the four years I spent in Germany changed my mentality a great deal. It made me become a lot harder. I prepare very intensively for all games, physically and mentally.
On his goal vs Manchester City being compared to Robbie Fowler’s brilliant chip vs Manchester United
I saw the comparisons and similarities with Fowler’s goal because I was sent an Instagram example. I was very happy when I was compared to him. He is a legend, he was an excellent player, and that left me very happy and pleased to see my goal being compared to his.
On his thinking behind his ever changing goal celebrations
When my teammates score a goal, I always take the opportunity to celebrate that way – the emotion makes things up in a way. It feels great to celebrate a goal. Since I became a professional football player, before I go out onto the pitch I’ll sometimes plan in my head what to do if I score a goal. I always try a new celebration, but when I don’t score I feel a bit sad. When I score a goal, I enjoy the moment – it makes me very happy.
May Bobby Firmino continue to make us very happy (and dazzle us all the way) for many more Liverpool seasons to come...