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Real Zaragoza striker Ricardo Oliveira has spoken of his tough upbringing in Brazil in an interview with La Sexta that will air ahead of Zaragoza's clash with Barcelona on Saturday.

Oliveira was raised in São Paulo and was subjected to a hard life in his early years, although he was quick to indicate that he never turned to crime, despite the stereotypes associated with Brazil's lower classes.

"I lost to my father when I was 8 years old and at 15 I had to go out to request money. I come from a poor family. I had to ask people for food because I was hungry. I also took discarded items from the street to try and sell them.

"Others looked to alternatives: violence, robbery, drugs. I did not. I did not have food, but I was always trying to get it. Although I did not have work, I was going to request food and money at the traffic lights.

"But I never went to rob, to take something that was not mine. It was a very humble childhood with difficulties, but it was surpassed by a dream: to be football player."

The twenty-seven year old striker believes that coming from such humble beginnings means that he appreciates the financial stability that comes from being a footballer.

"The success comes easier because you know to value what you have. There are people who think that you are not of this world because you are a football player and have a name, an image, but we are all equal."

Oliveira reflected on his childhood friends, most of whom he is no longer in contact with.

"I almost have no friends from my childhood. They have either died or are in jail."

Finally, he looked toward his future, which he sees being in Brazil.

"I like to help people. In the last few months I was consecrated as a pastor in Brazil. When I leave football, I want to dedicate my life to preaching the word of God," he concluded.
 
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