Joao Pedro celebrated his first senior call-up to the Brazil squad by hugging his grandmother, before his phone froze due to the avalanche of messages from friends and loved ones.
It was a memorable moment for the 22-year-old from Ribeirao Preto near Sao Paulo, who was at home watching the squad announcement live.
“I was with my girl and grandmother.” said Joao. “When they said my name, we hugged and started to shout and celebrate! It felt incredible. “My friends messaged me and my phone went so crazy it froze. I haven’t had a chance to reply to them all yet because there are so many, but they have all made me so happy.”
Thankfully Joao’s phone was only frozen for a short time, because soon after being named in the squad for World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Argentina – who are currently top of the CONMEBOL group – he was added to Brazil’s first-team WhatsApp group.
“I received a link and was just added in like that!” said the former Watford forward. “Everyone is in there… players like Vini Jr and Neymar. They are amazing players who I have grown up watching.
“I will try to learn from them and do my best when training and playing with them. Hopefully I do well and then next time, I’ll be in the squad again. Hopefully I can play many times.”
Joao’s first senior selection comes after just one appearance for the Selecao’s under-23 team, which was against Morocco in August, and he says playing for the first-team will feel extra special.
“This is a dream for me, it’s something I’ve wanted all my life. When I was a kid, I always imagined playing for my country and it’s something I can’t wait to do. To have this opportunity is incredible. When I join the squad I need to do my best and work as hard as possible. It’s an amazing feeling and I want to make the most of my chance.”