Joelinton (l.) and Roberto Firmino (r.) have already shared more than a few career parallels. - © imago
Joelinton (l.) and Roberto Firmino (r.) have already shared more than a few career parallels. - © imago

Joelinton hopes to follow “role model” Roberto Firmino into Brazil squad

Joelinton has described Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino as a “role model” and hopes to follow his fellow Brazilian’s path from Sinsheim to the Selecao.

Joelinton has been a revelation for Hoffenheim this season, scoring seven goals and assisting five more as Julian Nagelsmann’s first-choice striker. First signed in the summer of 2015, the 22-year-old spent the last two campaigns on loan at Rapid Vienna, and was relieved to get the chance to shine this term.

“It wasn’t clear I’d get the opportunity,” Joelinton explained to German sports daily Kicker. “I didn’t know where I’d end up but I had great belief in my abilities from the start and was pretty sure I was ready to play for Hoffenheim and in the Bundesliga.

Watch: Joelinton's Top 5 goals!

“In Austria I learned mentally and physically, and above all I learned the language, which was really important. When I got confirmation that Nagelsmann and [sporting director] Alexander Rosen would like to work with me I was overjoyed.”

Liverpool attacker Firmino earned the first of his Brazil 31 caps when at Hoffenheim, and Joelinton sees no reason why he can’t do the same.

“Of course, it’s a big dream to play in the Selecao, maybe I’ll get a chance someday,” he said. “I get the feeling that I’m slowly coming to their attention now. I hadn’t played in Brazil for too long before I moved to Europe and football in Austria isn’t so well regarded. But now they see that there’s a striker in one of the strongest European leagues who regularly plays and scores.”

Roberto Firmino (r.) steered his ninth Brazil goal past Werder Bremen’s Jiri Pavlenka (l.) on Tuesday. His scored his first four international goals as a Hoffenheim player. - Getty

One Brazilian has certainly been taking note of Joelinton’s form – the very man he wants to emulate.

“Firmino’s a great character and a role model for many,” concluded Joelinton. “I text him about football from time to time and we congratulate each other on our goals.”