World of Sport

Boy with no feet to train with Barcelona

World of Sport

A Brazilian boy with no feet has impressed football scouts so much that he has been offered a chance to train with Barcelona.

Gabriel Muniz, 11, was born without feet, but refused to let the impairment stop him from joining in kickabouts with his friends.

And now the Spanish giants  have asked Gabriel to come and train at their famous academy in the Catalan capital.

Gabriel, who was born in the Brazilian city of Campos, has never let his disability get in his way, even as a baby.

"He started walking before he was one. We would go after him, expecting him to keep falling, but he never fell," said his mother, whose son sprang to fame when he was shown on Brazil's top-rated TV sports show.

That clip was seen by Barcelona coaches who, inspired by Gabriel's story, asked him to come to the Catalan club's Brazilian summer academy just outside Rio de Janeiro.

And he then justified their faith,  more than holding his own with the other young hopefuls - and Barcelona have now invited him to their main academy in September. He will get the chance not just to train with some of the best young players in the world, but also to meet idols such as Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.

There is still a long way to go before he could be offered a professional contract, but given how unlikely his story is already, who knows?

"When he arrived there (at Barcelona's academy near Rio), no one believed in him. But he proved to everyone there, he can go head to head with any other boy," said his PE teacher Jose Lopes.

"Disability only exists inside our heads and he is proving it to everyone; he is challenging the social norms."

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