By Jane Nambi
11 year old Gabriel Muniz from Brazil was born with no feet but he walks, since he was one year old. He has a love for football and it is this love that is now taking him places.
He was invited to train with Barcelona after his story came out in a Brazilian sports show. He was donated a foot-ankle prostheses last year but removes them when playing. He is going to train at the Barcelona training camp in Saquarema, just outside Rio de Janeiro.
According to The Telegraph, Muniz inspired club managers of Spanish clubs. “ His story and impressive skills inspired the Spanish club’s managers and he received an invitation to travel to Barcelona’s academy in September. “When he arrived there [the Barcelona academy in Saquarema], no one believed in him. But he proved to everyone there, he can go head to head with any other boy,” said his [PE] teacher. ”The disability only exists inside our heads and he is proving it to everyone; he is challenging the social norms. To this day there isn’t a Paralympics 11-a-side football team, but Gabriel is showing this will have to change, because he wants to play 11-a-side football,” he added.
Muniz will be able to meet some of his idols, including Leo Messi even though he might never get the chance to play for a team like Barcelona. His mother, Sandra Muniz said her son has always lived a normal life despite his physical limitations. “He started walking before he was one. We would go after him, expecting him to keep falling, but he never fell,” she said.
His dream has come true and he is visibly happy about it. “Me, Messi, Dani Alves, Villa, Iniesta, Xavi, Victor Valdez, Adriano, Puyol, Pique, Mascherano and Sanchez,” the boy said.