Thursday, 19 October 2017












MANCHESTER CITY — The gray skies over the City Football Academy would have produced a grimace from most, but a towering Brazilian goalkeeper was smiling from ear to ear.
Ederson Santana strode into the room with a wink and a smile to imitate the smiley face emoji tattooed just behind his left ear.
Sao Paulo goalkeeper feels at home in Manchester fellowing his $46 million move from Benfica in the summer (To become most expensive goalkeeper on the planet) and just over a week since he made his debut for the Brazilian national team he is being lauded by fans and pundits across the world.
Siting back in his chair as he looked out at the dour Manchester sky and the meeting room lights glistened off the braces on his teeth, the 24-year-old is a long way from Lisbon or Sao Paulo.
“It has been a really positive experience so far,” Ederson said, via a translator. “Obviously the cities are a little different. Lisbon is more tropical, here it is more cold and rainy. But I am settled in well, I like life here and I am ready and prepare for any circumstances. I am settling in here very well.”
Ederson played the hero for Man City less than 24 hours earlier as he saved a penalty kick in their hugely important UEFA Champions League win against Napoli. Today he was back at the training ground and was taking part in a SkillsCity app challenge in conjunction with the club launching its first-ever US SkillCity final this December in California.
The competition (hosted by Nexen) is open until November 19 for young players aged 5-14 across the U.S. who can submit their best skills, following guidance from City’s coaches, via the app ahead of the final in California where eight winners will be announced from 32 players selected from across the USA. It’s a novel idea and the prize will be a VIP trip to Manchester in 2018 to see a game, stay at the CFA and more.
“I remember when I was a kid I couldn’t watch much on TV because the games were not on,” Ederson explained. “Having these kind of apps these days help a lot to develop skills and help the kids to practice, to improve and test their skills. It is really positive.”
Ederson’s skills have certainly been positive since he arrived at City as the Brazilian has been hailed as the missing piece of the jigsaw in Guardiola’s side.
His composure with the ball at his feet and ability to come charging out of his goal has provided plenty of confidence to City’s defense.
“I was born with those skills, being able to play with my feet. When I started playing as a player I was playing as a defender or a full back. That helped me with my adaptation to play with my feet. Through time I have developed those skills and even now I keep training with my feet because it is very important,” Ederson said. “In the past maybe I didn’t spend so much time training with the players that were in front of me. Now we are more involved and maybe that is why I can now show my qualities with the football.”