BRUNO GUIMARAES has shared his inspirational tale of how he went from sleeping in a bed with rats to heading off to Wembley for a cup final.
Newcastle play Manchester United in the Carabao Cup showpiece with the Magpies looking to end their long trophy draught.
Guimaraes’ suspension is over meaning he is good to start at Wembley on Sunday.
But it may have all gone so differently for the Brazilian who had to dig deep to achieve his dream.
The 25-year-old was turned down by the likes of Botafogo and Fluminense in his youth and lost self-belief that he could make it.
Only his hard-working taxi driver father and his supportive mother kept the midfielder believing, and his break came when he was offered a chance to move to Audax São Paulo.
But the opportunity meant he had to leave home and live in a cramped dorm with as many as 18 other aspiring footballers.
Guimaraes recounted the moment he went looking for his mobile phone and instead found a large rat that “looked like it had been drinking protein shakes.”
He writes for the Players Tribune: “Instead of [finding] a plastic phone, I feel something … furry. But like, not cute. No, not the cute kind of furry, bro. The gross kind of f***ing furry. Then I felt a tail.
“On my life, I felt a tail!!! Bro, if you could have heard the way I screamed…. This fat little rat is looking at me like, ‘Yo, what are you doing in my bed???’
BETTING SPECIAL – BEST SPORTS BETTING APPS IN THE UK
The incident compounded a miserable time for Guimaraes who was left thinking he was “in hell”.
He was only paid 400 Brazilian Real a month during his time away from home, which equates to just £65.
But things would turn around slowly for the star and by the time he turned 19, he would be getting regular football in Brazil. A move to Lyon beckoned before his transfer to Newcastle a year ago.
Guimaraes revealed in the tribune that he wears the “magical” number 39 on his shirt as it the same number that featured on his dad’s taxi.
Since his arrival on Tyneside, he has become a fan favourite with his classy and sophisticated work in midfield.
Should he play a major role in ending Newcastle’s long trophy drought on Sunday, he will quickly be elevated into club legend territory.