Munich - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim forward Roberto Firmino has been voted Brazil's best young player in an overseas league for 2013/14 by Brazilian journalists and viewers of TV channel ESPN Brasil.
‘Try even harder’
The 22-year-old enjoyed an outstanding season at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena, scoring 16 goals and assisting a further 12 in 33 top-flight outings as die Kraichgauer finished tenth in the Bundesliga.
“We have to pick up where we left off last season and I want to try even harder to create more goal-scoring opportunities,” Firmino said upon receiving the award. “I want to keep improving and continue to help the team.”
Firmino joined the Sinsheim outfit from Figueirense Futebol Clube in January 2011 and has netted 39 goals in 117 appearances in all competitions for the side coached by Markus Gisdol. His career has had some ups and downs at the club - he was suspended for turning up late to training in late 2011 - but he scored in both legs of the 2012/13 relegation play-off against 1. FC Kaiserslautern to help TSG survive in the top flight.
The 2013/14 season was his breakthrough campaign, however. Leading the club charts for goals and assists, he symbolised their vibrancy and style going forward, and it's a system he clearly enjoys playing in having signed a contract extension in March. "I'm taking things step by step, and that's why I'm staying at Hoffenheim," he told Germany specialist football magazine kicker recently. "The way we play fits me perfectly. I love the system and it will make me even better." Hoffenheim begin their 2014/15 campaign at home to FC Augsburg.