Man Utd new boy Antony survived Little Hell favelas guns, death and misery
It seems fitting Anthony is about to join the Red Devils, given he grew up in a place called 'Little Hell'.
Manchester United are preparing to part with more than £80million to sign the 22-year-old Brazilian, a deal that will see him become the fourth most expensive player in Premier League history.
The glitz and glamour of such a tag isn't something Anthony will be used to. That's not to say that he won't be able to live up the price tag, it's just that money and fame would've seemed like a such a pipedream a few years ago.
READ MORE: Man Utd spending more on Antony than Real Madrid did on Cristiano Ronaldo
Anthony was born and raised on the outskirts of Sao Paolo in a notoriously dangerous area called Osasco, and the favela he lived in was nicknamed Inferninho (Little Hell) as it was rife with gangs, drugs and weapons.
Often, people would be murdered right outside his house and criminals running from the police was an almost hourly sight, and the Brazil international recently insisted that, given the hardships of his childhood, nothing in football will ever frighten him.
"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," he said.
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Having worked with Erik ten Hag at Ajax there was always a decent chance he'd end up at Old Trafford this summer, but United's persistence and willingness to spend big to seal the deal is testament to how far Anthony has come in such a short space of time.
In 2019, he was told he wasn't good enough for the Sao Paolo first team, but after a monstrous performance for their U20 side in the Copa Sao Paulo, Brazil's premier youth competition, the club quickly changed its mind. Soon Ajax came calling, upping their bid of just £2million back in 2018 to £18million, and he secured a dream move to Europe.
He took to the Eredivisie like a duck to water, making 47 goal contributions in two seasons and helping Ajax secure back-to-back league titles, prompting envious glances from some of the continent's biggest clubs. Now, with his career (and his life) set for another major ascension, a little perspective will be needed again.
Costing more than Cristiano Ronaldo might be daunting, but Anthony has been staring daunting situations in the face all his life, so no matter how vicious the British press get or how cauldronlike some of the away days might be, there's no doubt he'll be reminding himself that if he can overcome Inferninho, he can overcome just about anything.
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