Jorginho, the 31-year-old Arsenal and Italy star, has an extraordinary story that traces a path from humble beginnings in a monastery to becoming a celebrated figure in Premier League football.
His tale of resilience and determination reflects an inspiring journey towards achieving his football dreams.
- Jorginho began his football career living in a humble academy in Guabiruba, earning a meagre £17 a week.
- At Verona, Jorginho lived in a monastery among monks, reflecting his challenging path to stardom.
- Fellow footballer Rafael Pinheiro played a crucial role in improving Jorginho’s situation at Verona.
Treading a unique path from a humble life in a monastery to Premier League stardom, Jorginho has become one of football’s most distinguished figures. The 31-year-old Arsenal and Italy star’s journey is a testament to his perseverance and ambition.
Brazilian-born Jorginho’s football odyssey began at an early age, when he was just 13 years old. He was among a group of 50 children picked as part of an initiative by Italian businessmen in Guabiruba to foster the next generation of South American talent.
The academy where he resided, a considerable 113 miles from his hometown of Imbituba, provided a stark environment for nurturing a young talent. Jorginho’s early years were marked by harsh conditions, with windowless rooms, repetitive meals, and ice-cold baths as his daily routine.
Despite the grim experience, Jorginho’s resolve remained unshaken, leading him to sign with Verona, the Italian club playing in the second tier at that time. The deal was far from glamorous, leaving the young midfielder with only £17 a week to survive on.
Jorginho recalls this phase of his life, stating, “I’d go to the main square in Verona and buy a milkshake at McDonald’s. It cost one euro. Fries? Burger? Forget it, man! Happy Meals were for the rich kids.”
During this period, Riccardo Prisciantelli, the then-chief executive of Hellas Verona, entrusted Jorginho to a trusted priest. The budding footballer found himself living in a monastery amongst monks, further highlighting the unique path of his early career.
However, the tide began to turn when Jorginho met fellow footballer Rafael Pinheiro, who would eventually become a lifeline for the young player. Pinheiro took notice of Jorginho’s precarious financial situation and brought it to the attention of Verona’s hierarchy.
The rest of Jorginho’s meagre salary was spent on basic necessities, including mobile credit to keep in touch with his family. “I could not do anything,” Jorginho confessed. “I used five euros for mobile credit, bought hygiene products, which was 15 euros, and the rest was used online to talk to my family.”
Jorginho’s time of struggle extended for a year-and-a-half. However, things began to improve when he joined professional training in the second year. After sharing his experience with Pinheiro, the latter ensured Jorginho didn’t lack anything moving forward.
Fast forward to today, the man who once lived on £17 a week and resided in a monastery is now one of the shining stars of Arsenal and Italy.
He currently earns around £110,000 per week.l.