Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Oliveira (born 2 October 1991), commonly known as Roberto Firmino or solely as Firmino, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Liverpool and the Brazil national team as an attacking midfielder, forward or winger.
Born in Maceió, Alagoas, Firmino joined Figueirense’s youth setup in 2008, aged 17, after starting out at CRB. He was discovered by a dentist, Marcellus Portella. With the latter, he was mainly used as a defensive midfielder.
Firmino made his professional debut on 24 October 2009, coming on as a half-time substitute for Toninho in a 1–2 home loss against Ponte Preta, for the Série B championship. In January 2010 he was definitely promoted to the main squad.
Firmino scored his first professional goal on 8 May 2010, netting the winner in an away success against São Caetano. He contributed with eight goals in 36 appearances during the season, as Figueira returned to Série A after a two-year absence.
Firmino signed with Hoffenheim in December 2010, with the contract running until June 2015. He formally arrived at Hoffenheim on 1 January 2011. Then Hoffenheim manager Ernst Tanner commented that they were “pleased to hire a Brazilian talent”. He made his debut a month later in a Bundesliga defeat against Mainz, where he came on as a 75th-minute substitute for Sebastian Rudy. He scored his first goal for the club on 16 April, the only goal of a league victory against Eintracht Frankfurt.
On 23 June 2015, while he was competing for Brazil at the Copa América, Hoffenheim and Firmino agreed terms for him to transfer to Premier League club Liverpool for up to £29 million on conclusion of the tournament, subject to a work permit. Liverpool confirmed the signing the following day, subject to a medical. The deal was finalised on 4 July.
Firmino made his Liverpool debut in a pre-season friendly away to Swindon Town on 2 August, and his league debut a week later, replacing Jordon Ibe for the final 12 minutes of a 1–0 win at Stoke City. On 22 November, Firmino scored his first goal for Liverpool in a 4–1 victory over Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium. In January 2016, Firmino was described by Paul Little of the Irish Examiner as steadily improving during his first season in England, although an inability to combine with centre forward Christian Benteke drew criticism.
However, in 2016 Firmino’s form improved as manager Jürgen Klopp played him alone up front in a False 9 role. He scored braces against Arsenal and Norwich City that month; the latter performance, in which he also assisted in a 5–4 win, earned comparisons to Raheem Sterling. With his form improved, Firmino was voted to be Liverpool’s Player of the Month in January. Firmino ended the season as Liverpool’s league top scorer with ten goals.
On 23 October 2014, Firmino received his first call up to Brazil national football team for the friendly matches against Turkey and Austria. In May 2015, Firmino was included in Brazil’s 23-man squad for the 2015 Copa América to be held in Chile. On 21 June, he scored in a 2–1 defeat ofVenezuela to qualify the Seleção for the knockout stage as Group C winners.
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