Wesley Moraes: The remarkable journey of Aston Villa’s new record signing


Meet Wesley Moraes Ferreira da Silva, Aston Villa's all-time record signing.

Some football fans might have seen him playing for Club Brugges, even featuring in the Champions League at times, but the majority of supporters won't be too familiar with his story.

It all seems pretty straightforward when you look at his Wikipedia page - forging a youth career in Brazil, starting out in Slovakia with AS Trencin and then eventually moving to Belgium.

However, simply tracking the trajectory of his clubs doesn't give the full picture and it makes his rise to becoming a multi-millionaire professional footballer all the more remarkable.

Let's go right to the start and consider the fact that Moraes was actually born with one leg three centimetres longer than the other, which raised concerns about him picking up injuries.

One leg longer than the other

Brazilian legend Garrincha had the exact same medical problem and Robert Rybnicek - Moraes' old coach in Slovakia - claimed it looks as though the Villa man is 'limping on the pitch.'

It's a problem that Club Brugges would discover during Moraes medical, but he quickly dispelled any concerns by showing himself to have incredible pace and dribbling abilities regardless.

Aside from his legs, though, the nature of the Brazilian's upbringing has also influenced his story and that came in the form of tragedy when he lost his father at age nine from a brain tumour.


Two children and factory work

Moraes would then become a dad himself. His son, Yan, and daughter, Maria, were born to different mothers while the footballer was still only 16 years old.

Both his children are based in Brazil, living near his own mother, from where he can provide the support they need as they start to begin education.

Just two years after the birth of his second child, Moraes found himself on the assembly line of a factory sorting screws and earned less than £150 a month to support his family.

In regards to football, it wasn't until around the age of 16 that he played association football, despite having dabbled in futsal - like so many Brazilian youngsters - throughout his childhood.

The beautiful game was always his salvation, though, and Moraes travelled across Europe to attract clubs, even spending three months playing for Atletico Madrid's under-17 team.

However, it wasn't until he impressed during a one-month trial in Slovakia that he earned himself a professional contract and was snapped up by Brugge the following season. 


Three years in Belgium have now turned him into an established forward in Europe, scoring almost 30 goals across his final two campaigns in the Belgian First Division A.

And now, his remarkable journey has taken him all the way to the Premier League and one of the most established clubs in England paid more than ever for his services.

Yet, even if Moraes struggles in England and leaves after six months, his journey up to Villa Park is something that can inspire up and coming footballers across the world.

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