Philippe Coutinho has fulfilled his promise of taking a poor boy who could not afford to buy the Barcelona player’s shirt to a match by taking him pitchside at the Maracana to watch Brazil win the Copa America.
Photos show Coutinho and young Brazil fan Wallace Rocha, 12, in a blue official Brazil shirt gifted to him by the Barcelona star, standing next to each other pitchside at the iconic Maracana stadium and even walking across the hallowed turf before Brazil’s victory over Peru.
Wallace, from the Vila Cruzeiro favela in the city of Rio de Janeiro, in the Brazilian state of the same name, had previously been snapped wearing his homemade Brazil strip with Coutinho’s name and number etched onto the back in June 2018 during the World Cup.
Pictures Credit: Golders
The touching photo was posted online and was brought to former Liverpool player Coutinho’s attention, who said he wanted to meet Wallace when he returned from the World Cup.
The photographer who took the image, Bruno Itan, said: “The day they met, Philippe said that he wanted to take him to a match so that Wallace could see him on the pitch. When Coutinho promised that, Wallace didn’t take it too seriously as it was something unbelievable.”
However, after gifting an official Brazil shirt with his name and number on the back to Wallace, who is from a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Coutinho fulfilled his promise.
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Local media report his wife Aine Coutinho met up with Wallace and gave him a ticket to watch Brazil take on Peru in the Copa America final at the iconic Maracana stadium along with photographer Itan.
Itan told reporters that they went to the match with Coutinho’s family, saying: “She (Aine Coutinho) asked us to meet before the match and was really nice, she said to Wallace: ‘You have to be our lucky charm.’
“Wallace is very shy and doesn’t express himself much but the shine in his eyes was clear.”
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