Winter 2022

Brazil's Bruno Guimaraes giving glory to God at his first World Cup

The remarkable depth of the Brazilian men’s national team means players who would be key contributors for most of the 32 teams at the 2022 World Cup were left at home, and players from some of the world’s top clubs will have limited roles as the nation attempts to win the tournament for a sixth time.

Bruno Guimaraes is a prime example of the kind of talent Brazil has at its disposal. One of three players with multiple goals and multiple assists for a Newcastle team sitting in third place in the Premier League, Guimaraes was a nominee for the league’s player of the month award in October.

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“I think I was born to play in the Premier League,” he said in an interview with Sky Sports in October. “I love the atmosphere. I love the intensity of the game. It is the most difficult league, of course. There are no easy games. But when you play well here, it makes you think you can play in any competition.”

Guimaraes made his World Cup debut as a substitute in Monday’s 1-0 win over Switzerland. It was just his ninth appearance for his national team (not including the Tokyo Olympics) and the third time he played more than 30 minutes.

The limited involvement at the international level is not for a lack of production though. In his last four national team appearances before the World Cup, he produced a goal and three assists.

After the Switzerland game, the 25-year-old gave thanks to Jesus in an Instagram post.

Guimaraes told FIFA.com the challenges he’s faced during his career have helped prepare him to play on the sport’s biggest stage.

“It was always my dream to play for the national team and play at the World Cup, but it was a very distant dream at the time,” he said. “It was so far away, but I had it all the same. All those things I went through when I was a kid — leaving home at a young age, living in another city and in conditions that weren’t that great — really helped me to become what I am today.”

The midfielder left Brazil to join French club Lyon in January 2020, then moved from Lyon to Newcastle 24 months later. All the while, he has consistently shared his faith on social media, whether it’s thanking God after the birth of his son Matteo or in his post celebrating his first Premier League goal.

When he was named to Brazil’s World Cup squad, he included “To God be the Glory” (translated) in the caption of an Instagram post.

In the Q&A interview with FIFA.com, Guimaraes explained the way playing for his country has impacted him as a player.

“That shirt comes with a lot of pressure when you pull it on,” he said. “You can’t accept second best, because you’re wearing your country’s colors and you have to be worthy of it. So that’s when you become a real player. Your mindset changes completely. It changed for me anyway. I don’t accept being average anymore. I always want to be on top of my game.”

Brazil’s final group-stage game is against Cameroon at 2 p.m. ET on Friday. A draw would guarantee a first-place finish in Group G with a spot in the round of 16 already secured.

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