The lazy left-back who became a goalscoring goalkeeper: Ederson’s evolution into Man City legend

The lazy left-back who became a goalscoring goalkeeper: Ederson's evolution into Man City legend

Ederson has revealed he became a goalscoring goalkeeper as a kid – because he was too lazy to play at left back.

And in a new documentary on his life, his first futsal coach tells how he devised routines that meant the Manchester City goalkeeper was the second highest goalscorer in the team as a teenager.

Ederson was not happy when he was asked to play in nets for the first time, because his greatest joy was sticking the ball in the back of the opposition net.

Nicknamed “Chubby” (Gordo) as a baby because of his chunky build, Ederson soon started to emulate his hero Rogerio Ceni, the legendary Sao Paulo and Brazil keeper who averaged more than seven goals a season in his 18-year professional career by taking penalties and free kicks.

Says Ederson in the three-part City documentary, which launches today on City+: “My nickname was Gordo (Chubby), but I was skinny!

“I love this nickname. It’s very nice because it reminds me of when I was young.”

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But he had no desire to be a keeper, making it plain he wanted to stay outfield: “It’s more fun – you touch the ball more often, you score goals, you celebrate.

“I started as a left back. To attack was easy, but to defend … that was a problem. I was too lazy to run.”

That was confirmed by his dad Bartolomeu De Moraes, who says they pushed their sons into the football school to keep them off the streets of the poor Sao Paulo suburb where they grew up.

“On that mud pitch at the football school, it was most enjoyable to be an outfield player,” said his dad.“He was a good attacking player, but to get back and defend, he needed a cab to keep up with the boys.”

His first coach Gilberto, known as Giba, also felt Ederson was a little too cumbersome to play out, saying: “He was good with the ball, but a little heavy. So one day I said ‘I’m going to put you in goal’.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 23: Fernandinho of Manchester City lifts the Premier League Trophy with team mates Benjamin Mendy, Riyad Mahrez, Ederson and Sergio Aguero as Manchester City are presented with the Trophy as they win the league following the Premier League match between Manchester City and Everton at Etihad Stadium on May 23, 2021 in Manchester, England. A limited number of fans will be allowed into Premier League stadiums as Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease in the UK. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

“He didn’t like it. He said ‘Oh no, manager.’ And I said ‘Let’s see, who knows?’. He saved the first shot ….”

It was a revelation for Ederson, who added: “It was love at first sight. On my first day as a goalkeeper, I already defended very well, and never left since.

“In futsal I played as a sweeper keeper. And we had many rehearsed moves on corners or throw-ins so I could shoot at goal.”

His futsal coach Ticao devised a plan in which the outfield players would circulate in the penalty area to distract the defence, while Ederson casually ambled forward – the ball would be played to a teammate, who ran over it, and Ederson would blast it into the net.

That, and the fact he took penalties, meant he was joint top goalscorer with a striker called Caique going into the final game of the season – and his coach had to have a strict word to keep him in his area when Caique scored twice to become outright top scorer as they won the title.

“I was the second goalscorer, it was good! Least goals conceded, best goalkeeper of the tournament,” recalled Ederson.

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Ticao invited the players round to his house for a barbecue to celebrate and Ederson got a ticking off from the coach’s wife after dropping pasta sauce on her sofa.

Said Ticao: “In his first match for Manchester City I was watching at home. So I called my wife. ‘Do you remember that pasta boy that you scolded? Look at him now, at an English club.’

“She said ‘I can’t believe it! Look where this boy is now!’”

Ceni remains a legend in Brazil, but he says Ederson is already better: “When you play for a club like City, a dominant side, who usually have 60 to 75 per cent of ball possession, that means you control the game more.

“In this scenario, the goalkeeper will have about 50 actions in a match of which 40 will be with his feet. If 80, 85, 90 per cent of the actions are played with your feet, that shows the importance of having a goalkeeper with this skill.

“It’s the position in football that has changed most and maybe Ederson is the best you can get in a goalkeeper today – the most complete goalkeeper in modern football.

“I don’t think he followed in my footsteps, I think he surpassed them.”

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