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FC Barcelona’s latest inclusion to the senior squad will be wearing the name 'E. Royal' on his back. What’s all that about? It’s time to learn a little more about the Brazilian right back.
1 - Why Royal?
His full name is Emerson Aparecido Leite de Souza, but since his second season at Betis (2019/20) he has started using a nickname given to him by his aunt when he was a kid.
The name came from a character used by the Royal brand in a jelly commercial, who had a huge mouth. As Emerson cried so much as a baby, and opened his mouth so wide when he did so, he was called Royal after the ad.
2 - Favela to the world
The new blaugrana star has come a long way since his infancy in the ‘favela’ slum of Ermelino Matarazzo (Sao Paulo). But he is very proud of everything he has achieved, and has the words da favela para o mundo (from the favela to the world) tattood on his arm).
He also does as much as he can to support the people who still live there, and during the Covid-19 pandemic, he has been sending food packages to help the people.
3 - Attack to defence
He was originally a striker, but when he was 11 his coach moved him back to defensive midfield, and then because he had no natural full-backs, he moved the player back even further to a position where he has remained ever since.
4 - First goal
On 2 April 2018, Emerson scored his first pro goal. It was a long distance screamer that also won the Copa do Interior for the Ponte Preta club in Sao Paulo where he spent most of his youth.
5 - Jordan's words
“I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don’t do things half-heartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results.” That Michael Jordan quote has been the inspiration that has driven Emerson to get where he is today.
6 - Smile, please!
Royal always bears the characteristic Brazilian smile. “I don’t like boring people” he says. “We Brazilians have an identity, we like to be with other people, talking and smiling. I’m happy. My family is always laughing.”
7 - Continuing a tradition
Aloisio, a centre back who Johan Cruyff moved to right back, Belletti, Dani Alves, Adriano, who could play on the left or right, Douglas and now Emerson are series of Brazilian full and wing backs that have played for Barça.
8 - Another Brazilian
Fausto Dos Santos was the first and Emerson was the last, with such greats as Evaristo, Ronaldinho and Coutinho in between. An immense 43 different Brazilians have played for the Barça senior team.
9 - Hero Cafú
Emerson says his childhood hero and role model has always been the two-time World Cup winner, who was included in the Dream Team Ballon d'Or last December.
10 - Ready for the Seleçao
Emerson has been called up for two friendlies for Brazil but has yet to win his first full international cap in a competitive game. However, he is now preparing for the Copa America 2021 and may well get to appear in the tournament.
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