Firmino unfazed by lack of superstar status in Brazil

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The Liverpool forward has become a star in Europe, but he is not afforded the same kind of respect in his homeland as some international team-mates

Roberto Firmino remains unfazed by his lack of superstar status in Brazil, with the Liverpool forward having shown at club level what he is capable of.

Heading into the 2018 World Cup, it remains to be seen what kind of role the 26-year-old will be given by national team coach Tite.

Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus has been favoured in a central striking role in recent times, with the likes of Neymar and Willian providing attacking support.

Firmino did, however, net 27 times for Liverpool in 2017-18, while providing 14 assists across Premier League and Champions League competition to put himself in contention for a starting berth.

Calls for him to play a prominent role in Russia have started to build, but he is still not held in the same regard as a number of Selecao colleagues.

Pressed as to why that might be, the man who left Figueirense for German side Hoffenheim in 2011 told FourFourTwo: "I can't really explain it. It could be because I didn't play for very long in Brazil before I chose to move to Europe.

"I left my home when I was young so I think that's probably the main reason - they haven't seen as much of me compared to other players.

"I may have a better status outside Brazil, but I don't worry about it too much. What matters to me is that I'm doing my job at my club where I'm very happy at the moment. Everything else will follow."

Firmino has just enjoyed the best season of his career to date, with his efforts helping Liverpool to a top four finish and the Champions League final.

He has also impressed for Brazil of late, stepping off the bench in a 3-0 friendly victory over Austria to set up a goal for former Reds team-mate and close friend Philippe Coutinho.

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Firmino added on the man who left Anfield for Barcelona during the January transfer window: "Everybody knows that Coutinho is a great footballer - here in England they call him 'The Magician'.

"He made his decision to join Barcelona but every time we meet and play for the Selecao we have a good chat and maintain that friendship. He is an exceptional guy and one of the best friends football has given me."

Firmino and Coutinho will be hoping to savour World Cup glory this summer, with the side fancied by many to go all the way set to open their Group E campaign against Switzerland on Sunday.

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