Fearless Kenedy eager to make splash at Newcastle
Newcastle new boy Kenedy has insisted life at St James' Park holds no fears for him after leaving home as a boy to fulfill his dreams of becoming a professional footballer.
The 21-year-old midfielder arrived on Tyneside last week on loan from Chelsea for the remainder of the season as manager Rafael Benitez finally got his hands on a player he had tracked for some time.
Kenedy learned his football playing on the streets of his native Brazil, but revealed he had to make sacrifices early on to give himself the best chance of success.
He said: "When I was a child, I used to play with my friends in the streets and I always dreamt [of] being in a club like this one. And now the dream has come true.
"I left home at the age of eight or nine. My uncle was my manager, and he gave me the chance to play for Fluminense. Then, I moved to Europe when I was 19.
"I moved from Santa Rita do Sapucai, a city in the countryside in Minas Gerais, to Rio de Janeiro. It's about 300 miles, more or less the same as from Newcastle to London."
Asked if he was scared by the prospect of moving so far from home at that age, he replied: "No, it was fine, it was okay for me."
Kenedy got his big chance when Chelsea paid Fluminese £6.3 million for his services in July 2015, although his opportunities at Stamford Bridge have been limited to date with an early exit from the club's preseason tour to China last summer in the wake of some ill-advised social media posts not helping.
A colourful character, he boasts a series of tattoos, one of which reads, "Forgive me, mum, for my crazy life,",while another, "You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice," is attributed to Bob Marley.
He grew up idolising the likes of Rio products Adriano, Romario and Ronaldo, and admits some of his knowledge of his current club comes courtesy of the film trilogy Goal, in which a young player from the Los Angeles barrio gets his big break at Newcastle.
He said: "It's a really important time in my career and I hope I can do my best. I'm here to learn and show my potential is not just potential, but that I can do things in the future."