Amauri, bricklayer in Brazil and illegal immigrant in Italy: he will play with Juve and the national team

Amauri, bricklayer in Brazil and illegal immigrant in Italy: he will play with Juve and the national team
Amauri, bricklayer in Brazil and illegal immigrant in Italy: he will play with Juve and the national team

Arrived in Italy to play the Viareggio Tournament, Amauri will find luck in Serie A between Chievo and Palermo. Then Juventus and the blue dream.

Discovered during the Viareggio Tournament already twenty years old, Amauri Carvalho de Oliveira, or more commonly Amauri, after a few years he will become one of the most coveted strikers in Serie A, so much so that he will wear both the Juventus and the Italian national team shirts. Having reached the peak of his career, however, things will not go as hoped and Amauri will take a steep descent.

Amauri started playing for real in his native Brazil only at the age of 19 when he was found by Santa Catarina, a semi-professional club in Blumenau. It is the great opportunity he has been waiting for for a long time. Score 8 goals in 14 games, not enough to avoid relegation but enough to fly to Italy and play the 2000 Viareggio Tournament as a protagonist.

“Up to nineteen I played just for fun. Never been in a club, never in a football school. I was convinced that I would become a footballer. I was discovered playing on the street with my friends. I had done so many auditions, but in Brazil if you have reached eighteen without playing seriously, they won’t even look at you. They told me: you’re good but old, it’s better if you go to work. In my life I worked as a bricklayer. I’m not ashamed to say this because it allowed me to earn money to help my family. I worked in a supermarket, in a charcoal factory and in the metal industry. I did everything and in the meantime I was able to do some auditions and train. Many times I arrived tired, with so many thoughts and I could not express myself at best. But someone noticed me and took me to audition in Santa Catarina, a Serie B club that was ten hours from São Paulo. They took me and then put me in the team that went to Viareggio, that’s where it all began “.

That unknown boy from Brazil scores 5 goals in just three games, attracting the attention of observers on the spot. In the end, it is Bellinzona who bet on him, but the transfer to Switzerland is not so easy also due to an injury, as told to ‘Hurrà Juventus’

“The first month I was really sick. It was the first time I left home and, like all Brazilians, I missed my country. In Switzerland I saw the first ice of my life and it took me a while to get used to it. Once the difficulties have been overcome, things seem to be going better, I play two games and score a goal, but immediately afterwards I get hurt. A stopped month: another unpleasant period … “.

Bellinzona did not renew his contract at the end of the season, so an audition in Belgium went wrong and the concrete prospect of returning to Brazil definitively abandoning his dream. To grant another opportunity to Amauri is the agent Grimaldi and here, finally, Italy. Parma weaves it but is turned over on loan to Naples. All after having lived for a few months in Turin as an illegal immigrant, as told by Amauri himself to ‘Mediaset Premium’ a few years ago.

“I didn’t have a return ticket to Brazil and all my hopes had vanished. One day he called me Grimaldi, who would later become my agent, and told me to take the first train to Naples. I started playing with the Primavera and after a while I was added to the first team “,

On the pitch things are not going very well, also because Amauri is closed by Nick Amoruso, Bellucci and one of his idols: Edmundo ‘O Animal’. But the dream of becoming a footballer can continue.

“Romario has always been my legend, but he came immediately afterwards. At first in Naples I couldn’t help but think that up to a year and a half before I was playing on some pitch and there, instead, I shared the room with the big Edmundo. His proximity helped me a lot: he was much calmer than the player you met in Florence and then, even just seeing him moving on the pitch, allowed me to improve. I just think he happened to be on the wrong team: he deserved to fight for important results, not for salvation “.

Amauri scored on his debut against Bari, but the goal was canceled due to a millimeter offside. In six months he put together just six appearances and one goal, Napoli relegated to Serie B and the Brazilian left Piacenza together with the woman of his life, his wife Cinthya, known right on the Gulf.

“She too is Brazilian and was in Naples for work: she is a plastic surgeon. I met her at a dinner, we immediately started dating and we fell in love. Since then she has always been my point of reference”.

Closed by the Hubner myth, Amauri also plays very little in Emilia. So here is the transfer to Empoli, where he remains only in passing before accepting Messina’s offer in Serie B. And Sicily will be the striker’s springboard, but with the rosanero shirt. Meanwhile, on the Strait, things finally begin to turn in the right direction, so much so that the Chievo he decides to give him another chance in Serie A. But Amauri is so little known that one day he enters a clothing store in the center of Verona and a clerk asks him if he has enough money to pay.

“The first year in Verona was a good experience. I felt confidence in Delneri and if I lost the starting position it was my fault. The following season, however, was disappointing. The coach was Beretta, with whom I have never had a relationship. He didn’t believe in me and when I was in top form he didn’t give me the chance to play. The third year, on the other hand, I found what I affectionately call “my coach”: Bepi Pillon. I returned from vacation and there was talk of my possible transfer. Pillon immediately stopped him saying that for him I was a fundamental player. Words that he repeated to me even in private. Knowing that the coach is counting on you is important and that year gave me the charge. “

Amauri explodes, scores 11 goals in 37 appearances and returns to Sicily. The ambitious one wants it Palermo by Maurizio Zamparini to replace Luca Toni, sold to Fiorentina a year earlier. The adventure in rosanero begins in the best way, the Brazilian scores in a burst so that the team coached by Francesco Guidolin in the 2006/07 season even leaps to the top of the standings, making an entire city dream.

Dream, that of Amauri and Palermo, which abruptly ends two days before Christmas 2006 when in a clash with Manninger, then Siena goalkeeper, the striker remedies a very serious injury: partial rupture of the posterior cruciate ligament and stretching of the medial collateral of the right knee. His season is over.

“I suffered a lot in that period. We were second behind Inter, I was playing well and I was scoring a lot. There was even talk of a possible call-up by the Brazilian national team … When I got hurt all the castle of dreams I was building, he collapsed on me. In that period the birth of my second child was fundamental. Hugo Leonardo was born twenty days after the accident and he gave me a crazy charge. From that moment on I just tried to recover. I didn’t think yet to arrive in a great team, but only to come back stronger than before. Thanking the Lord I made it “.

The following season, in fact, is that of the definitive consecration. Amauri scores 15 goals in Serie A, including two against his own Juventus who at the end of the season decides to buy it by pouring about 23 million euros into the coffers of Palermo to bring it back to Turin, this time as a protagonist. Wear the black and white number 8. The dream has come true.

“Juve is my victory. I landed in Italy as an unknown and after eight years I find myself in a team that has victory in its DNA. Juve has always been the queen of Italy and Europe. Now he wants to be one again and in this return I want to be there too “.

Unfortunately for him, things will go very differently, even if Amauri’s first season at Juventus is all in all positive. He scored 12 goals in 32 appearances, also taking away the whim of scoring a goal in the 2-1 victory against Real Madrid in the Champions League. However, the Bianconeri certainly do not live the best years of their history, quite the contrary. In the following season Amauri chooses the number 11 which belonged to Pavel Nedved, a sign of how responsibilities do not scare him.

“I am very happy to find number 11 again because it was the shirt that accompanied me in my career and saw my success. Plus it is a great honor to take over the baton from Pavel Nedved. He gave me this shirt telling me that it is a a number that brings luck and that has a great significance at Juventus since the earliest times. I’ll do everything to be worthy of this tradition.

The goals are only 7 in 40 appearances, including a brace against Ajax in the Europa League. In the summer of 2010, then here comes the convocation of Italy thanks to the naturalization of his wife who is in possession of the double passport.

“I did not choose Italian citizenship, therefore your national team, because I would never have been called up in Brazil. They had called me, but I feel Italian in football. And my children were born here”.

Amauri made his friendly debut against the Ivory Coast thanks to the then CT Prandelli, but that will remain his first and only presence with the blue shirt. Also because the attacker’s performance drops dramatically. His third and in fact last season at Juventus is heavily marked by an injury, so much so that he will remain dry for almost a year, while the fans insistently ask him to change scenery, which happens on January 31, 2011 when he is loaned to the Parma.

“I have no regrets. I had already given the floor to Lippi. One because I grew up in Italy in football, which opened the doors for my daughter, gave me the opportunity to change my world and my destiny. I was very happy when I heard that we wanted to call me. Being joined to the national team was a personal victory. Marcello Lippi had expressed this desire and I had given my word. Unfortunately, due to the passport and the change of the law, I was not called up at the 2010 World Cup. I waited for Brazil until November 14, 2008, for the last friendly match of the year against Portugal. Everyone at home was talking about the fact that I was on the list, but that was not the case. I told Lippi that, if they hadn’t summoned me on that occasion, I would never have gone there. After a month they called me, but by now I had given the word “.

At the end of the season he returns to Juventus but not in the plans of the new coach Conte, who does not give him even a minute. So in January 2012 Amauri leaves Turin again, this time for Florence. And it is with Fiorentina that the most important goal for the Juventus fans will arrive, due to a strange twist of fate. On 7 April 2012 it will be Amauri who will sign the final 1-2 goal against Milan thanks to which the Viola conquer the ‘San Siro’. A goal that in practice delivers the Scudetto to Juventus, the first and only one with the Fiorentina shirt.

So there is room for a couple of seasons at Parma, before the transfer to Turin where things are not going well also due to the bad relationship with the then grenade coach Gianpiero Ventura. In 2016 he rescinds his contract with the grenade and at 36 he starts again from the USA, where he played until 2017 and where he still lives today. The dream of that boy who was a bricklayer in Brazil has come true, albeit in part.

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