Football

'Ronaldo' & 'Cafu' star in Brazil's tiniest football team

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A Brazilian team called 'Giants of the North' with the nickname "Ronald-teenios" are doing their bit to address height-based discrimination.

The side, made up entirely of dwarves, is led by three-foot tall star Casemiro Ribeiro, who takes on rivals twice his size in full 11-a-side matches in Brazil.

Ribeiro has earned the nickname of Wagner Love - on honour of the former CSKA Moscow striker, while he plays alongside the likes of 'Lucio' and 'Ronaldo' - tiny versions of the global stars.

Their coach, Max Goiano, believes that if they were taller then they would be playing the game at a much higher level.

"The strikers, the attacking midfielders and the fullbacks are all really good," he said. "If they had my stature, all of them, especially Wagner Love, they would be professionals.

"We have Wagner Love and Ronaldo and even Cafu who is 36-years-old but has the lungs of a 20-year-old. The whole team is pretty good.

"We do a lot of work with the ball on the ground and we like to pass the ball in a nicer style. It also makes sense because given their stature there is no way of playing long balls up high."

'Wagner Love' says he is doing his bit to show that height isn't an issue when it comes to playing football.

My life has changed because at one point I was struggling to deal with prejudice in the streets. Now wherever I go I get compliments, wonderful compliments.

"I have so much pride to be here with these guys who I consider my brothers.

"I feel happy when I come here to play football. People are always surprised to see how good we are."

'Gigantes' as the team is known also offer players the chance to learn vocations like carpentry, and pay the stars a basic salary.

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