Bruno Guimaraes’ Football Journey
Bruno Guimaraes has gone through a lot of rejections in his early career and nearly gave up on the game. However, his father willed him to do better as he improved his game and later became one of the best defensive midfielders in the Brazilian Serie A.
Bruno did have a lot of options when he was looking for a team to play for in Europe. He had Benfica, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, and Lyon. However, being a Juninho Pernambucano fan, the family opted to have him play there, and the rest was history.
As a kid, he did not have the luxury of being a young starlet. He did play for Flamengo in Rio, but he failed to move to the 11-a-side game. He then moved to Fluminense and Botafogo, which both rejected him for being limited to just futsal.
‘He used to be angry at some games, demanding a lot, because he knew my potential’, Guimaraes said of his father. ‘It was good for me. He made jokes, but in a serious way. If we lost a game, I would eat a ham and cheese sandwich and get juice. But, if we won, he would let me eat whatever I wanted’.
His father’s persistence eventually paid off when Bruno earned a shot at the Serie A with Athletico Paranaense. He would wear the number 39 in honour of his parents’ work as taxi drivers every Sunday.
He worked hard to earn his spot with the club. He did good on the training sessions and delivered well on their games. He even led the club to the Copa Sul-Americana and Copa do Brasil for the first time in the club’s history.
For his hard work and persistence, Bruno earned the award of being the best defensive midfielder in the country during that run.
‘It was a defining moment, which I will never forget. After training, I saw the reaction of my family’, Bruno said of his big achievement in the Serie A. ‘I started to cry. It was a very emotional moment. Our dream finally came true’.
He still wore the same number when he played for Lyon. His key games with the club saw him earn a lot of playing time, and he even became a starter. Perhaps dreaming high has been good for him, and his father supported him all the way.
He played in the Champions League as well, and he was also set to represent Brazil in the Olympics and the World Cup if it wasn’t for the global pandemic.
‘I know what I had to go through to be here, to live what I am living’, said Bruno. ‘I want to do it much more. I want to play in the Olympics, at the World Cup and in the Champions League many more times’.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores