Do you remember Edi Junior? If you’re into the world of TikTok, the answer is probably yes. He has more than 4 million followers with comedic videos and served as an inspiration for Neymar on TikTok — in an audio of a punctured sing-along. The two even got closer and the boy got several gifts from the PSG star.
Well then: after insisting so much, Edi Júnior, now 22 years old, can finally say that he fulfilled the big dream of his life and became a professional football player. He left Brazil for Europe to play for KF Devolli, a third division team in Albania, and makes his official debut today (2).
The boy who grew up in Vila Cruzeiro, the same community in Rio de Janeiro that became popular with Adriano Imperador, dreamed of playing football professionally for as long as he can remember. “Actually, I never dreamed of being digitally influenced, I always dreamed of being a football player, since I was little. UOLwho played in the schools of Vasco (from 5 to 9) and Flamengo (from 9 to 16) and only left football in the background due to the success on TikTok.
But the dream of playing football was always there, very well kept. It was almost done a few years ago, to play in Portugal, but it didn’t work out. “A lot happened. The guy was kind of wrong and was going to put me in the country illegally. And he promised a lot of things that he didn’t fulfill… Then I was sad as hell. It’s not possible that I’ll never make it”, remembers Edi.
“But I kept making my videos, posting football stuff… Then, out of nowhere, Lorenzo, from KL Sports & Business, from Futures Sport, sent me a message: ‘I saw your profile here, there’s a proposal for you’. ‘ Wow, that’s half a goal.” Then he invited me to do this project with him, to come here to Albania to play football professionally… I was very happy! I dropped everything, because it was my biggest dream. It’s something inside me that I can’t explain. It’s an unusual love”, he said.
“And today I’m here, for the first time playing football professionally, training and dreaming more and more. And if God wants to go far. Just being here, trying, is something that is worth a lot to me. I never thought I would get here. I always believed, but I was never sure that I would make it. There’s no way to speak with words, only with feelings”.
“Neymar to know that I exist!”
Edi Júnior started producing content about video games in 2017. Always a lot of fun, the videos started to be successful on the network to the point that the boy received a proposal from TikTok himself: 200 dollars for 25 videos. He agreed, and within 30 days, his number of followers skyrocketed, reaching 100,000 — with over a million views.
Edi’s reach has become huge, and even some celebrities have started sharing videos based on the influencer’s voiceovers. One of them, with one of those songs from uncle, went viral: ‘Hi, I’m Gui. What Gui? The one guided by God to make you happy’. And do you know who posted their own version? Neymar, to the delight of Edi, who was warned by a friend and at the time did not believe it.
“A kid called me and said: ‘Ed, run on TikTok and Neymar dubbed you’. At the time I said: ‘it’s not possible, this is a lie, I don’t believe it’. Then I opened it and saw it, and I freaked out too much, It was one of the best days of my life!”
“Then I sent him a message and saw that he was following me… For God’s sake! Then I opened his profile, I sent a message asking for an autographed shirt… He took a long time to respond and said: ‘send your address’. He sent boots, ball, backpack and everything else! I just asked for an autographed shirt [risos]. Since then he’s been following me on Instagram too, ma’am! To this day I don’t believe that Neymar follows me, that he knows I exist”, she jokes.
Now, the next step is to meet Neymar in person. “It’s still on a dream list, but who knows, maybe one day we’ll meet there,” he joked.
More about the chat with Edi:
I didn’t know anything about Albania, nor what country it was. I’ve never seen it on the map. Then I started researching a lot of things…
Football here is very physical, tactical, it just doesn’t have much quality. But tactically and physically it’s a hell of a football, it requires a lot of strength. And it is very different from Brazil. Two touches on the ball, the guys almost don’t have the ball on their feet, it’s hard [risos].
My mom and dad were super supportive [jogar na Albânia]. They are my biggest fans. If one day I manage to make all my dreams come true, 90% of that merit is all theirs, only 10% mine. How much they support me, help me, cheer, send messages of support, every day. They are everything to me, my fuel.
Unfortunately my relationship of 3 years ended, but it happens, right [risos]? But my ex-father-in-law and ex-mother-in-law, who I used to live with, are practically like parents to me too. There are also two that, for example… If I had a victory, it would be 10% of them, 90% of my parents and nothing of mine [risos]. The merit is total of the four. They fuel me being here, they motivated me a lot, and they always cheered for me.
I haven’t had any troubles yet. I have roommates who are from other teams, and they are very cool, the atmosphere is very good.
I’m missing açaí, barbecue, beans [risos]… Missing many things that are not here. It was kind of different to adapt, but it was good. It had a complicated period of adaptation, with the end, some criticism, but thank God today and now it’s fine.
I’m living with a Brazilian and a Japanese, communication is very funny. It’s a mix of shit country in this Albania [risos]. We always make fun of each other… We’ll face each other in the championship and make fun of each other [risos].