Before his injury in December, Wesley was called up to the Brazilian national team and made his international debut.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
By now, most Aston Villa fans are well versed in the history of Wesley Moraes – the stories of his childhood, his fathering of two children at a young age, working in a screw factory to fund his dream and the non-issue of having one leg longer than the other.
Before his unfortunate season-ending injury against Burnley, Wesley was beginning to get into his stride as an Aston Villa player, and had even managed a call up to the prestigious Seleção – the Brazilian national team – in November, as he replaced Ajax’s injured forward David Neres in the squad.
The way that the forward found out is via a friendship that blossomed between himself and Douglas Luiz, naturally, as kinsmen from the same country.
Douglas, of course, had already represented Brazil at a youth level, and had been called up within the initial squad before Wesley’s inclusion in the side, and initially called his team-mate to tell him the good news.
“I was at home with my girlfriend and Douglas called me to say that people from the Brazilian Football Association had been asking for my number.”
“Then the national team’s supervisor messaged me saying that Tite was going to call me up to replace David Neres, asking if my passport was up to date – before they confirmed it within half an hour.”
His reaction to the news, and in turn, his mother’s reaction, is a heartwarming result of hard work from the Brazilian forward. Whilst his Aston Villa career may not have necessarily started as well as he would have liked, it’s important to consider the things that Wesley has achieved in claret and blue thus far.
“I was over the moon and burst into tears.”
“This was my childhood dream – the first thing I did was call my mum.”
“She also burst into tears and started shaking, and my siblings had to calm her down – but she was calmer when it was officially announced and I had called her again.”
The experience of playing and training with high-calibre players like three-time Champions League winner Casemiro, amongst others, is something that will bode well for the young forward’s development moving into the future.
The striker also had an opportunity to score on his debut, a friendly against South American rivals Argentina but misfired when put under pressure by the Argentinian defence.
Whilst he played and trained alongside a number of exceptional talents, he also faced a number in the Argentina team – including multiple Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.
“When I came off the bench, there was a corner and I realised he was stood next to me in the box.”
“It was hard to believe that I was playing against him on my debut in one of football’s greatest derbies.”
Wesley has since had his debut shirt signed by his team-mates and sent back home for his family.
The time with the Seleção would have provided himself and Douglas Luiz with the chance to bond away from Bodymoor Heath too – with their friendship incredibly visible when Wesley was grounded in pain following Ben Mee’s challenge at the end of 2019.
The forward is currently back home in Brazil and will shortly undergo rehabilitation work to attempt to aid his recovery from knee ligament damage.