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From Stamford Bridge to Arlington Oval

Fabio

By Lauren Ferreira.

Taking a chance across the other side of the world in an effort to reboot his career, Portuguese footballer Fabio Ferreira has chosen Dulwich Hill Football Club as his new stomping ground.

With speed and technical skill characteristic of European players, Ferreira has sent the club and its supporters into excitement frenzy, with his “show stopper” presence driving a buzz of anticipation around his every shot and dribble.

Scouted by Portuguese heavyweights Sporting Lisbon playing football on the streets of Barreiro, Portugal, Ferreira began his professional career at the tender age of 14.

By 16 years old, Ferreira had scored his most notable achievement in football to date, signing with English premier league club Chelsea FC, at the request of coaching figure Jose Mourinho.

When Ferreira wasn’t training among England’s elite, he was travelling around Europe representing Portugal in youth tournaments.

Moving up through the ranks, from the youth teams up to Chelsea’s reserves, Ferreira admits it was a time both rewarding and challenging.

“At Chelsea, I improved my skills and improved as a person. When I got there I was a kid, I was only 16 years old and I was alone and away from my family. And alone in a big club like Chelsea, it made me grow up, I had to grow up.”

Sydney based family and friends acted as the key catalysts encouraging Ferreira’s move to Australia, with the young footballer hungry for another shot at a professional career after Chelsea.

“My goal is to restart my career, and for me, that means getting into an A-league club. My family told me to come, but in the end it was my decision to come all this way. It is true what they said, Australia is a beautiful country.”

With resemblances to Cristiano Ronaldo, it is not surprising to the club and their president Joe Pinto that teams such as Sydney FC are itching to catch a preview of Ferreira’s “thrilling footwork.”

“He already trialled for the Jets and did very well. We’ve already had phone calls from Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory is coming up to see him at the next home game.

It’s all because it is rare for someone of his quality to be here in Australia and we should try and cherish it” says Mr Pinto.

Word has spread faster than a Ronaldo break down the sideline amongst the inner west and the Portuguese community, with supporters and media outlets descending upon Arlington oval to get a glimpse of A-grade Portuguese football pedigree in action.

With skill and a presence unseen in the third-tier super league competition, Dulwich Hill claim to have a diamond on their hands in 22 year old Ferreira, with his profile making him a rarity in Australian football.

“When we saw him it was like, we found a diamond and it’s rare to find a diamond like that.

He’s just so good on the ball and the way he runs with the ball reminds us of Cristiano Ronaldo” says club president Joe Pinto.

With Ferreira’s recent club performances “going beyond” expectations, his attitude and mentality are what has caught the club and supporters pleasantly off guard.

“I can’t see anything like that (attitude) in him to tell you the truth; he’s always up for a joke and treated everyone-from the youth teams, all the way up to the first grade- like equals” says Mark Pinto, Dulwich Hill FC team mate.

“He’s not a selfish person at all, let alone a selfish player. He’s a top bloke” says Chris Ferreira, fellow Dulwich Hill team mate.

This article appeared in the Inner West Courier on Tuesday 10th April 2012

 
 
     
 
 
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