Eder Militao, central defender of Real Madrid, He wanted to review his career in a most characteristic way before playing his first Champions League final with Real Madrid against Liverpool next Saturday.
The defender published a letter to his younger self reviewing and warning the younger Eder of how everything that is happening to him so far in The Players Tribune both in Portuguese and in Spanish or in English.
This is the full letter of Eder Militao in The Players Tribune
Yes, I’m talking to you.
Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong. I just wanted to explain to you some little things that are going to happen to you in life.
It is true. Since I know you well, I know you won’t believe me. But you have to trust me.
I know that you are the most introverted in your street, perhaps the quietest child in all of Sertãozinho. And there’s more: even though your father is a former soccer player, I know that playing soccer doesn’t suit you very much.
No, I’m not saying you don’t like it. You like it, okay, but you’re not passionate about it… not yet. You prefer a thousand times to look at the blue sky to the hunt for kites, which you shoot down with your cutting line. I’m also sure that you really like your friends and that you simply die for your parents. You know you have an unbeatable life, Éder, as long as this structure is maintained.
Now you believe me, huh?
Well, I’m here because I have some news for you, kid.
I’ll explain: you’re going to get so involved with football that your life will change completely. And I tell you more, Éder: that sport will be so important to you that you will leave your parents’ house for it.
That’s how it is! But do not worry. All these changes will make you very happy, and also your family and friends. And all this will happen sooner than you imagine.
Well, now that I have your attention, I’m going to reveal all the details of how it will be.
One day, without your father knowing in advance —and, in fact, to his surprise—, you will show up to play at the soccer school where he works as a coach.
Well, that’s right, not even your own father knows how you handle a ball at your feet. You even hear him say something that will stick with you forever and make you and your friends laugh.
“I don’t know if he plays well.”
Coincidence or not, you are the last to be chosen for the teams.
Don’t worry, Éder, that won’t be a reason for humiliation. Hold on, this is just the first of many surprises that football has in store for you. With the ball at your feet, you are going to transform. In that match, you go out dribbling halfway around the world and score a lot of goals.
From defense to attack, no one can stop you.
People are going to freak out, haha.
Suddenly, the whole world is going to admire your talent. And then they will compete with you to be part of their teams at school. And then something even more amazing will happen.
It’s just that you, Éder, won’t give too much value to all that. Okay, you think football is cool, but it’s not by far the most important thing there is.
It’s like playing comes naturally to you. It doesn’t affect your way of being, it doesn’t change how you see life.
In reality, things have a scale of values, and for you, being among friends and with your family has enormous weight. They are very special.
I do not condemn you, Eder. You are not wrong for thinking like that. What may seem to many to be a sign of weakness will, in fact, be your greatest strength.
So don’t be scared if Helião is rigorous when he teaches you how to shoot the ball. And don’t worry when they take you to a trial at São Paulo FC
Spoiler #1: This will only be the first of the big clubs you will play for in your career.
But I also have to tell you something a bit dodgy that will happen to you.
Prepared? There it goes.
You’re going to cry a lot, Éder. No, nobody is going to mistreat you, nobody is going to harass you, or anything like that. In Cotia, in Barra Funda or in Morumbí, the quarry trainers will recognize your talent.
But your heart will not be at peace. And that instability, that insecurity, has to do with how much you miss your parents.
It won’t be easy, kid, I’m not going to lie to you.
And, yes, there will be a day when you will think about giving up everything: you will no longer want to be a professional footballer; You no longer want to be away from your friends and family.
But then your mother will ask you a question that only someone who knows you very well could ask:
“Is not that what you want?”
Ah, Éder, I must tell you that if you know how to listen, what your mother will tell you will open your eyes.
Suddenly, you will begin to see what is happening around you with different eyes.
You will come to value the increasingly positive comments you hear about your football.
What I want to tell you is: what seems so natural to you, your talent, is not something so simple for others.
No, Éder, you are not just anyone.
And your mother’s words will make even more sense when you are called up for the first time for the Brazilian National Team in the lower categories.
It will be the click that you were missing, that snap of the fingers that changes everything.
No, being in the call will not lead you to change your way of being. Your essence will remain intact, believe me.
What the selection will bring you is the confirmation of a feeling that had already begun to well up in you.
From now on, you know you want to be a footballer. And having that certainty is going to change the way you approach this sport forever.
You will start to dedicate yourself with more seriousness and commitment. And if in training you already acted firmly and confidently, also off the field the dedication will be total: physical preparation, adequate nutrition, rest time.
For the career as a professional athlete you will abandon old habits, as well as the company of friends that you like so much. But this time it won’t be painful. Of course you will miss all that. You are human. However, now your heart will have found purpose. That makes all the difference.
And all of this will happen so quickly, Éder, that you will hardly be able to register the moment you were promoted to the main team of São Paulo.
To be honest, with your somewhat clumsy memory, you will only remember that moment because some time later… well, some time later you will go back to the quarry.
You will have to start from scratch in Cotia.
I told you at the beginning that I would be very sincere, right? I tell you bluntly. You’ll be so pissed off with all of that.
But, notice: that rage will not demotivate you or divert your concentration, much less make you give up.
In the future, you will remember that moment as one more opportunity, a learning experience. I know, you were never good at school, but some experiences will mark you quite a bit.
After all, how many players, even more talented and as dedicated as you, for various reasons fell by the wayside? And how many more would not give everything to be where you are today?
That is why you will always be grateful and you will draw the attention of everyone around you for your simplicity and your posture on and off the field.
That way, when Rogério Ceni promotes you to the main team, in 2017, you’re going to discover that rockets don’t go backwards, kid. He, an icon of the club, is going to support you and say that you won’t come back to the quarry anymore. From then on, everything will be big things that you still don’t know will be in your way.
It’s all very fast, but you will remember your transfer to FC Porto. I hadn’t told you, but it turns out that, shortly after deciding that football would be your destiny, you also set yourself another goal: to play in the Champions League.
The move to international football is the guarantee that this can happen sooner than you imagined.
And I assure you that your surprise will be even greater when you score a goal in your debut match in the Champions League, against Schalke 04.
It will be such a special moment, Éder, that you will be able, many and many games later, to remember every moment of that move. Oliver Torres running to the baseline, the cross, you positioning yourself for the header, the ball going into the goal from the corner.
The feeling of scoring that goal is indescribable. And the only thing that I can anticipate from that moment is the scene of the celebration. At the moment of the somersault, something goes wrong, and the result is something quite random… Seriously, hahaha!
In addition to that moment, there is another episode that will not get out of your head. You can imagine it? Of course I’m going to tell you: it was your first call for the main team of Brazil.
A few years ago, you could only play with these guys on the PlayStation, yet today they are your teammates.
You won’t even believe it when you realize that dream. And, despite all your illusion, you will not give much space. You will answer only what they ask you, and, of course, you will have to submit to hazing, presenting yourself in front of everyone at the Seleção dinner. Prepare to suffer that embarrassment! But when the ball moves you will play firm, no matter how much admiration you have for the Brazilian footballers.
You don’t know it yet, but that will be very important for the next step in your career.
That kid who didn’t give a damn about football will enter the plans of Real Madrid, the biggest club in the world.
At the time of the transfer, you will almost be signing for another top-tier team in world football. But when your father talks to you about Real Madrid’s proposal, you’ll hear that click again.
The right time is always now.
Calm down, Éder, because you are going to act as calm as always. Actually, that behavior is part of your nature, it helps explain who you are.
In the locker room, when you have Sergio Ramos, Varane, Marcelo and Carvajal by your side, you will smile, as if it were any other day.
No, Éder, your shyness is not going to leave you. But you will know how to put it aside when entering the field. You won’t cringe when shouting is needed to alert or motivate your teammates, because you speak much more on the pitch than off it. It is as if you turn a key and become another person. You have no friends there. They may be your father or your mother on the other side… You hit them! And you GROW before the forwards. Everyone will then know that Militão plays hard, but with loyalty, without being intimidated.
Uncle, you will be next to the best soccer players, in one of the main leagues on the planet, but nothing will take away the security you feel.
Because you know it’s not just about talent. It has to do with your teammates, from all the teams where you have played. It has to do with your friends, all those who have passed through your life. It has to do with your parents, who have always been by your side.
And your father, Éder, is going to tell you that, now that you have arrived at the main club in the world, you have to stay there. And that will require a lot of you. Every day. Deep down, you are safe. You have the confidence of someone who knows what to do.
Who would have thought, eh, Éder? You will play a Champions League final with Real Madrid. I still don’t know what the outcome of the match will be, but if you allow me another piece of advice: play without fear of being happy, as if you were flying a kite in the street.
I don’t want to go on too long, Éder, because, although I remember, you have several games to play this weekend and, furthermore, you have to manage to be with your friends. No problem. I also have to go to training.
I know you are still a child. But I want you to know that if you still have any doubts about your vocation, rest easy.
It will not be an easy choice, even because nothing is guaranteed in life, and the only certainty you have, at your young age, is that your parents spare no effort so that you and your brother have good conditions, despite the difficulties you are going through. there in Sertãozinho.
Spoiler #2: You can’t even imagine it, of course, but in a few years you’ll have a little sister!
So don’t be afraid to follow what your heart tells you.
Don’t be afraid to change.
Don’t be afraid to show up to play at the school where your father is the coach, even if people doubt your ability on the ball.
I am the proof that you will not regret it.
Oh, and before you worry… Don’t worry, you’ll never stop flying kites, even if you seriously dedicate yourself to football.
During the holidays, in the seasons with Real Madrid, you’ll still find time to get to the street, drop the line and raise the kite to the sky, facing the strong wind with the same calmness with which you go out with the ball dominated by the defense.
Without kicking crazy.
Too calm, someone will say.