Guilherme Madruga’s life underwent a profound transformation when he received the nomination for the prestigious FIFA Puskás Award. This talented 22-year-old midfielder hails from Botafogo, nestled in the heartland of São Paulo, in the city of Ribeirão Preto. During an interview with FIFA, his emotions were a mix of sheer elation and genuine humility.
Guilherme’s journey to football
Initially, the world of sports held different dreams for Guilherme. He harbored aspirations of becoming a handball player. Yet, destiny had other plans for him at the tender age of 13 when his father, Genildo, made the pivotal decision to steer him towards football. Today, their shared dream binds them inextricably.
The unforgettable goal against Novorizontino, who is now competing for the illustrious Puskás Prize, was only his fifth career goal. It’s a striking testament to his journey of evolution, having started as a defender and progressing to his current role as a second midfielder, the “box-to-box” dynamo.
The bicycle kick from outside the area
🇧🇷 Guilherme Madruga’s great goal, from Botafogo-SP, was nominated for the Puskás award.pic.twitter.com/eki1ndI1F9
— Curiosities Foot (@CuriositiesFoot) September 23, 2023
Guilherme’s audacious bicycle kick from outside the area wasn’t a stroke of luck; it was a meticulously crafted gem, a product of his relentless dedication. Over 20 games played for Botafogo, and he hadn’t found the net until that unforgettable moment. In his words,
“It was intentional. I charge myself a lot to finish. I had more than 20 games for Botafogo and I still hadn’t scored. That bicycle kick was an asset in the position he was in to not lose the ball. But of course, it’s not often that you imagine Puskás scoring a goal. I hope it happens more often!”
He had experienced the thrill of a similar goal nine years prior, but it remained hidden from most eyes. When he executed the bicycle kick in June 2023, he was momentarily lost in disbelief, struggling to fathom the reality of his extraordinary achievement.
Just moments before that pivotal play, a collision on the field forced him to receive five stitches on his brow, an experience that left him with a splitting headache. This physical ordeal, combined with the sheer incredulity of his goal, momentarily cast doubt on the authenticity of his remarkable feat.
Guilherme’s life beyond the FIFA Award nomination
However, despite the global recognition that accompanies a FIFA award nomination, Guilherme remains firmly grounded. He emphasizes the unrelenting work ethic required to repay the trust placed in him by his club, underlining his ambitions for a career that reaches for the stars.
“It’s important to work hard. When I started playing as a second midfielder, some people said that I wouldn’t be able to play on the back. And look, I managed to score that goal with my back! I’m shutting everyone up! With all due respect, of course”
When he contemplates the grand FIFA ceremony, his excitement shines through. He envisions the prospect of meeting football’s luminaries, players like Haaland and De Bruyne, whom he greatly admires. His admiration for Busquets, from his midfield position, is evident, although he’s unsure if the legendary player will be in attendance. Guilherme eagerly anticipates the chance to connect with every football star present.