Wednesday, August 29, 2012


This is an amazing story of an 11-year-old wonderkid from Brazil who has been invited to meet his idol Lionel Messi and train with the Spanish club after his talents were spotted by scouts.

Schoolboy Gabriel Muniz, who was born without feet, will fly from his home in Brazil to take part in the Spanish club's summer training camp after impressing at their training academy in Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro.

Despite his disability, Muniz is one of the best players at the school and captain of his gym class.

He can run, dribble, pass and strike the ball as well as any of his able-bodied teammates. 

His best friend Lucas Santos spoke about his abilities on a video for The Sun: 'He is skillful, he goes after it [the ball], he is fearless and he knows how to organise plays. He also makes good passes.'

Mum Sandra was thrilled that her son will achieve his ambitions - especially since the family were too poor to pay for treatment after he was born. 

She said: 'He started walking before he was one. We would go after him, expecting him to keep falling, but he never fell.'

Gabriel's gym teacher Jose Lopes added: 'He is challenging the social norms. When he arrived there [at the Barcelona academy], no one believed in him.

'But he proved to everyone there he can go head to head with any other boy. So much so that he was invited to go to Spain next month, in September, to showcase his talent.'
Gabriel and his family hail from Campos dos Goytacazes, a city located 170 miles north-east of Rio. 

Muniz shares a bed in a tiny house with his elder brother Mateus, and they get up at 6.30 every morning to bike to school. 

Like every child his age, he hates homework and household chores, instead spending all his spare time on the football pitch.

Gabriel wears a prosthetic ankle and foot to help him get around in rainy weather. 

He knows that his disability means he'll never be able to play for a professional football team and so Gabriel is hoping that football will one day become a Paralympic sport. 


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