Slender of frame and only 5’4 tall, Atletico Mineiro’s Bernard has shown plenty of perseverance in making his way to the top, and no little talent on the ball either.

 

"It was a big obstacle for me and I think any kid my age would have given up,” he told FIFA.com, in reference to his size and his early struggles, which saw him rejected twice by Atletico Mineiro before finally convincing the club to take him on at the age of 13. “The two times they sent me away I asked them if I could come back. All I wanted was to be a football player.”

 

Thanks to his ability on the ball, Bernard turned attention away from his lack of height. Loaned out to Democrata de Sete Lagoas, he starred in the second division of the Minas Gerais state championship, where his performances caught the eye of Atletico Mineiro coach Dorival Jr, who gave him his first chance in the first team.

 

Further opportunities would come following the arrival of Cuca as coach in 2011, the youngster seizing them to cement his place in the first team and be named the best newcomer of the 2012 Brazilian championship season, an accolade that proved his stepping stone to a place in the Brazil squad.