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Tottenham target Leandro Damiao on his rise from obscurity to landing the coveted Brazil No.9 shirt

The Selecao star has become a household name in his country despite having been a complete unknown only three years ago and has spoken of his desire to impress under Mano Manezes

Internacional striker and Tottenham target Leandro Damiao has spoken of his tough rise from amateur football to playing for Brazil.

The 22-year-old, who was subject of a bid from Harry Redknapp's side in the summer, only joined his current club in 2009 after having toiled in the youth set-ups at a number of Brazilian lower league outfits.

"Four years ago I was playing in an amateur competition in Sao Paolo, I wasn’t thinking about becoming a professional because I was too old," said Damiao.

"I was thinking about getting a job but then my dad’s friend who lived in Santa Cantarina took me there to try out for an amateur side. I stayed for two weeks and went to Atletico Ibirama’s junior team and one week later, I was playing with the pros."

Since then, Damiao's career has seen a rapid ascension, with the highlight being his first cap for the Brazilian national side after coach Mano Manezes called the striker up for the game against Scotland at the Emirates in March.

The forward has since gone on to score for the Selecao, breaking his international duck against Ghana at Craven Cottage last month.

"The national team is a dream to come true," he said.

"It’s important to everyone and all players want to be there. Knowing we’ve been lacking a regular centre forward makes it important that we score goals.

"I’m young, I’ve just started playing for Internacional and I’m making a name for myself. It’s not just important for me but for Brazil to get a victory."

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