For South American players coming to Europe, and especially to England, it never hurts to have something familiar to hold on to. Much of their lives may be taken up by football, but for those down moments it helps to have something of a sense of community.
And for Alisson, having Roberto Firmino at the club already and arriving alongside Fabinho meant an instant tight-knit group that has helped him feel comfortable and settle at a new club in a new country. Plus there’s Alberto Moreno. Don’t forget Alberto Moreno.
“It helps a lot, mainly with settling in,” Alisson told the club’s official website. “It’s not easy to come from one place—a city and a culture—and come to another country. The weather is different, everything changes—you have to adapt to everything, a new language.
“So having the Brazilians here does help. It helps me and helps my family settle in as well. My wife socialises a lot with my Brazilian teammates’ wives as well. That’s really important and it helps me, knowing there’s a wider support network for them.”
The inevitable talk of climate when a Brazilian or Argentine star joins an English club can elicit groans and eye-rolls, but for players and especially their families, a new culture with a different language and no personal connections to speak of can be daunting.
Especially over the long-term, it can be draining, and so as important as the club having systems in place to help them to build connections in their new home can be, at the end of the day sometimes nothing beats having a few friends with a shared culture.
“The club provides us with everything we need,” Alisson added. “I have a great relationship with all my teammates here but it’s always good to have a piece of home, our country, with us.”