Former Hoffenheim director makes surprise Roberto Firmino revelation
Anyone who has played FIFA will be familiar with the moniker given to Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian is often described as ‘The ultimate pressing machine’ – an apt description of what the 29-year-old brings to Jurgen Klopp’s system.
A one of a kind player, Firmino is Liverpool’s first line of defence. His tireless running and elevated energy levels have made him somewhat of a specialist who forms an integral part of Klopp’s pressing game.
No other player has played more games for Liverpool under Klopp than Firmino(223). He has also played 3670 minutes more than James Milner in second place. This shows the level of faith the German has put in his Brazilian marksman since arriving at Anfield. (h/t Transfermarkt)
To become a regular for Klopp, skill isn’t the only criteria. One has to be fit and should possess the physical ability to withstand high energy football. Under Klopp, the Brazilian has evolved into a new type of striker-one seemingly powered on Duracell.
It, therefore, comes as a surprise to hear the Brazilian’s former sporting director at Hoffenheim refer to the player’s endurance as “worse than my grandma”
An unpolished diamond
In an interview with Bleacher Report (h/t Liverpool Echo), former Hoffenheim sporting director Ernst Tanner has revealed that the Brazilian striker wasn’t the athlete then as he is today. Tanner has provided an interesting insight into how the Germans scouted and signed the player.
The then 19-year-old was rejected by a number of Brazil’s big clubs but the player had done enough to impress Tanner. In spite of negative scouting reports, he personally attending training to watch the forward in action.
It was Firmino’s attitude, hard work, and application in training that convinced Hoffenheim to take a chance on him. Something the player carries doing to this day.
Tanner explained how it was difficult to gauge the measure of the striker as he did not play regularly. In spite of the player’s heavy schedule, the Hoffenheim boss made it a habit to keep tabs on the player’s training sessions, often dressed as tourists.
It was once such a session that convinced Hoffenheim on signing him. Describing traits such as the right mentality, eagerness to learn and willingness to work hard, they discovered that the player was much better in training than in a game.
Roberto Firmino was anything but a machine at first
Although the club were happy with Firmino’s ability and mentality, they had serious misgivings regarding his fitness during his early days with the club.
Tanner revealed that the Brazilian posted some of the worst numbers seen in endurance tests. He labelled the results to be worse than that of his grandma.
“He had the worst numbers I have ever seen in professional football”
Firmino’s numbers are said to be so low that it was unbecoming of that of a professional footballer.
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It is difficult to imagine the Brazilian as anything but an unending reservoir of energy today. It is a testament to Firmino’s commitment that he has built himself up for the rigors of European football.