Like many kids in his native Brazil, Ricardo Steinmetz Alves – also known as Ricardinho – wanted to be a footballer when he grew up. Therefore, the eight-year-old Ricardo was devastated when he lost his eyesight, until he was told about blind football 5-a-side. "When I found out that I had a chance to play football again, my heart became full of hope and joy – I was able to get back to my childhood dream and pursue it."
Pursue it was exactly what he did. Alves has been to three Paralympic Games and won three gold medals as part of a Brazil team that has not lost a game since the sport was introduced at Athens 2004. At Rio 2016, as captain of the team, Ricardinho scored the gold-medal-winning goal that gave the hosts a 1–0 win in the final and sent the home fans crazy. "People still stop me on the streets and say we have made them proud," he says.
Ricardinho was named Brazil's Paralympic athlete of the year in 2018 after leading the team to its fifth World Championship title. Many teams will try to end Brazil's stronghold at Tokyo 2020, but Alves will aim to lead the team to its fifth straight Paralympic championship.
Athlete Olympic Results Content
You May Like