Inside The Rags to Riches Story of Wolves Record Signing Matheus Nunes

Wolves confirmed the signing of promising Portuguese midfielder Matheus Nunes from Sporting Lisbon for a club-record £42m fee.

The reaction to this from the general fans has been quite predictable – with most mocking Wolves signing another player from Portugal in their quest to become more of a Portuguese side than honouring their English roots.

Banter aside, this blockbuster move is especially significant knowing Nunes’ backstory. That’s because his road to a club record move hasn’t been so happy-go-lucky at all.

The 23-year-old has had to work harder than most players and earn his way to the best league in the world.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the midfielder had a very humble upbringing. He comes from a poor family and grew up in Campo Grande. Without his father, the burden of upbringing fell to his mother Catia who had to work extremely hard to put food on their table.

It was her who inspired him to take up football as a professional. The 23-year-old spoke about his early life to Portuguese news outlet Record last year, saying: “Sometimes we didn’t have anything to eat… although my mother never stopped working.

“She is a warrior who instilled in me a love of football. With her, I got my first touches. If we didn’t have the ball, my brother and I played with socks.”

He also added that his mother still says ‘till today that she doesn’t know how I never became a thief or a drug dealer.’

Life was hard in Brazil, but Nunes did not let the evil forces of society engulf him. In 2012, he moved to Portugal and joined the youth system of a sixth-division Portuguese club Ericeirense at the age of 12. Matheus climbed the ranks quickly and even played in the sixth division, before joining second-division Portuguese club Estoril in 2018.

It was during this period that his family was able to open their own bakery – the Pão da Vila bakery – where he volunteered to help his mother and served customers in the early morning – often starting from 5 AM! Nunes revealed this to Sporting TV, saying: “I worked about six, five months at the bakery.

“I came in the morning and the games were in the afternoon. I would stand for five, sometimes six hours on my feet and training afterwards was not easy.

“I didn’t have a driver’s licence and woke up at 5 am to go to work by bike.”

Fortunately for the Portuguese midfielder, life was kind to him and his hard work paid off as he climbed the ranks to be a major player for Sporting.

He’s now one of the most-expensive Portuguese signings in Premier League history and has enough money to allow his mum – a pillar of his success and someone to have sacrificed a great deal for him – to rest easy.