When Manchester City signed goalkeeper Ederson Moraes from Benfica in the summer for £35m, more than a few eyebrows were raised. The Brazilian had cost City the record fee for a goalkeeper, but four months on the keeper is looking worth every penny.
In a recent interview, as quoted by the Express, Ederson has revealed that practising with the ball at his feet (as well as in his hands) during his formative years has aided his integration into life under Pep Guardiola in the north west of England.
“When I started playing football I started in the defensive line,” he revealed. “That was very important to me to learn some of the skills and I also played futsal, so that gave me skills with my feet as well helped me a lot later on.”
Despite impressing between the sticks, the 24-year-old Brazilian started off as a struggling defender. One day, Ederson decided to try his luck in goal and it was, as he describes it: “Love at first sight.”
Ederson’s composure on the ball was seen as one of the vital attributes in attracting Guardiola to bring him to the Etihad, while it was also apparently one of the reasons why Joe Hart was pushed out by the Catalan manager.
Since arriving at City, Ederson believes he has further improved his ball skills, thanks to both Guardiola and his team’s style of play.
“I already have a lot of skills with my footwork and I train that but our team helps a lot because we like to keep the ball and start with the build-up. The players give me a lot of options for my passes.”
Ederson cites fellow Brazilian Rogerio Ceni as his football idol. The renowned keeper, who retired back in December 2015 and is the current manager of Fortaleza, is best known for his set-piece abilities. Ceni managed an astonishing 131 goals in 1,250 apps for Brazilian side Sao Paulo.
“He was very skilful. And he made history,” Ederson recalled. “He played 25 years at Sao Paulo, more than 1,200 games and that’s an inspiration for me. Hopefully, I can build a history like that,” added Ederson.