Newcastle United travel to Liverpool this weekend to take on the Champions League holders in the Premier League. It will be a tough test for Newcastle against Jurgen Klopp’s in-form Liverpool side at Anfield.
But it is a special occasion for one man in particular. Joelinton comes face-to-face with Roberto Firmino, who he has previously described as his “role model”. Both players have taken a similar career route but their paths cross for the first time.
Joelinton follows Firmino’s career path
Firmino is just under five years older than Joelinton but the parallels between their careers are obvious. Both strikers started out in Brazil but left for Europe before they had proven themselves in South America.
Hoffenheim signed Firmino in 2011 from Brazilian second-tier side Figueirense (he had scored eight in 38). He stayed with Hoffenheim until summer 2015 when he joined Liverpool. And that is when the German side signed Joelinton.
The Bundesliga club signed Joelinton from Sport Recife, who played in the top tier. It was a gamble seen as Joelinton had only played 12 senior games and scored three goals. Like Firmino, Joelinton stayed with Hoffenheim for four years before moving to the Premier League.
Joelinton on Firmino
In an interview with Kicker, Joelinton described Firmino as his role model. He had followed the Brazil international from South America to Germany and it was no surprise to see him make a move to England after that.
As translated via the Bundesliga’s English website, Joelinton told Kicker: “Firmino’s a great character and a role model for many. I text him about football from time to time and we congratulate each other on our goals.”
Future Brazil team-mates?
Joelinton and Firmino had a minor crossover at Hoffenheim in between the former’s arrival and the latter’s departure. But they have never played together. This could all change in the future if Joelinton gets his Brazil call-up.
The 23-year-old is dreaming of representing his country and he has shown early signs of promise in the Premier League. Now, he comes face-to-face with the man he hopes to emulate in his career: Firmino.