Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson has revealed he almost gave up on football as a teenager after being rejected by Sao Paulo as a youngster.
Speaking to the Mirror's Gideon Brooks in an interview published on Thursday, he said: "It was a difficult situation. I was only 15 years old and I went through a tough moment, spent one month depressed and was thinking of quitting. Luckily, my parents supported me and encouraged me to go back to playing."
The Brazil international subsequently joined Benfica's youth setup in 2009, but he was moved on to second-tier Portuguese side Ribeirao in 2011 and then spent three years with Rio Ave before Benfica re-signed him in 2015.
The 25-year-old was recruited by City in a £35 million deal two years later and has been their No. 1 since.
He helped the Citizens win the Premier League title in his first season at the Etihad Stadium, while this year they're second and have conceded just 17 goals in 21 matches—the third-best record in the league.
As former goalkeeper David Preece noted, he is cool under pressure:
David Preece @davidpreece12
Ederson racing off his line and calmly cushioning the ball wide to begin the lead up to Sane’s goal. Forget about the taking risks in front of goal. This is what his kind of keeper brings to the game. Ice cold and still making brave decisions right to the end under pressure.
Goal's Sam Lee echoed that sentiment and also praised his involvement in City's buildup play:
Ederson's ability with the ball at his feet separates him from most other 'keepers, as does his exceptionally long goal-kick.
He credited his team-mates with his ability to be so involved in possession:
"We usually train the build-up [playing out from the back] in training sessions, based on what team are we going to face the next game.
"If we do the build-up so well, it's because our players always offer me different options to pass the ball, so that makes it easier. With calm and with quality on the pass, it always works out. Of course, you need to have the courage and be very cool to play that way, because any mistake can end up in a goal conceded."
Ederson has naturally been drawn into comparisons with his compatriot Alisson, who joined Liverpool last summer in a £66.8 million deal from AS Roma.
The pair are the two most valuable goalkeepers in the world, according to the International Centre for Sports Studies:
CIES Football Obs @CIES_Football
Most expensive big-5 goalkeepers from a transfer value standpoint according to @CIES_Football algorithm: two Brazilians at the top! 🇧🇷 @Alissonbecker ahead of @edersonmoraes93! More at https://t.co/9VLKO2ncK8 #alisson #ederson #terstegen #kepa #courtois https://t.co/OunPOK81dp
While they are rivals for Brazil's No. 1 spot—Alisson has so far limited Ederson to just three senior caps—they are good friends.
"We have a good friendship, even if we can't see each other very often," he added. "We hang out sometimes on special occasions, like barbecues or friends' meetings. I am also big friends with Roberto Firmino and all the Brazil players in the north of England. They are all friends, so every time we have time off we try to see each other. But it's always difficult because of our fixture of games."
Despite their relationship, Ederson will be hoping to get the better of Alisson this season.
His City side beat Liverpool 2-1 on January 3, but they remain four points behind the Reds in the Premier League title race.
It's set to be a close-run contest between the two teams, and the goalkeepers will play a vital role in the title race.