Mendes with his father Ronaldinho
Being the son of Brazilian legend Ronaldinho brings its own expectations, so when Joao Mendes went for a trial with Cruzeiro he wanted to earn a place on talent alone.
The 14-year-old forward did not reveal who his famous father was until he had tried out and now he has signed a training contract with the Brazilian club.
“Although he was the son of Ronaldinho, Mendes performed a test in the club without the knowledge of kinship,” the club said. “With his own talent, the young attacker was approved and, only when he was already in the club, was eventually revealed the name of the famous father.”
Amarildo Ribeiro, the club’s director of grassroots football, added: “He is a player that has a good physical size, a high technical quality.
“He is a player who can play both as an area player and as a second striker. He is a player who, even with the big size, has speed and finishes very well.”
It sounds like Mendes is a chip off the old block.
World Cup winner Ronaldinho, 39, is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, renowned for his creativity, tricks and dribbling.
In a 17-year career he starred for Paris St-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan and won the Ballon d’Or in 2005.
Mendes is contracted to the club until the day before his 20th birthday in 2025.
“It is a dream that one day I can sign the professional contact with Cruzeiro, play professionally, make a goal in the crowded Mineirao and dedicate to the fans.” he said.