Brazil & Everton winger Bernard talks to KickOff.com about inspiring journey towards Premier League

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The Brazil winger challenges Manchester United cap
The Brazil winger challenges Manchester United captain Ashley Young at Old Trafford.
Bernard celebrates first Premier League goal.
Bernard celebrates first Premier League goal.
Everton winger Bernard was chased by Europe's elite after breaking into the Brazil national team and in the latest exclusive feature with Kick Off, he explains the incredible challenges he faced to become a professional footballer.
 
Bernard, 26, made his Seleção debut back in 2012 as a teenager after emerging as one of the most sought after talents in Brazil with Atlético Mineiro.
 
His football journey has since taken him to Ukraine giants Shakhtar Donetsk and now the diminutive attacker finds himself on Merseyside - while amassing 14 senior caps for the South American giants.
 
However, standing at 1.64m tall comes with its own challenges in professional football, which he duly notes in Kick Off's latest guest column.
 
If I could sum up football in one phrase, I would say that it is 'my life'. I can't see it being anything else because it's everything I ever dreamt of, everything I have tried to achieve.
 
 
My journey in football has been difficult and I've encountered many obstacles along the way but facing these challenges has made me stronger. 
 
I've never given up and, with help from my parents and family, I am proud of what I have achieved so far in a career, which has taken me from Atlético Mineiro in my homeland of Brazil, to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine and now to the English Premier League with Everton. 
 
When I was younger, various people told me that I wouldn't make it as a player but my family believed in me, I believed in myself, and first and foremost I believed God had a plan for me. 
 
My Dad was always someone  who believed in me as a footballer – he always told me to pursue my dream. He would come to watch me at every game I played, so I thank him for this because if it wasn't for him, there's no doubt I would not have made it. 
 
I have faced difficulties, but I always looked on the positive side. 
 
For players who are shorter in stature, they need to approach the game differently and think  a little bit quicker than others in general. 
 
I work every day to overcome this and I give my all, so that I can find an opportunity within any given game to create chances for my teammates to score goals. 
 
 
There are some skills you learn in time and there are others you need to continue to work hard at. I've always had ability within me but when I was younger I would spend time watching videos of players on YouTube, learning skills and moves that they would make me become  a better footballer. 
 
Naturally, these gave me ideas and led me to putting them into practice on the pitch. There were many players I would watch every day, including some in the Premier League like Eden Hazard, and other stars like Neymar and Kylian Mbappé. 
 
There are so many players I'd be watching. There wasn't a specific winger or forward I would focus on but after studying clips of these players I'd get ideas on how to improve my own game. 
 
I'm really happy at the moment and I think I am playing my  best football since I moved to Everton last summer.
 
When I had the opportunity to join  the club, I spoke with the  manager, Marco Silva, and it was an exciting conversation about the vision for the future. 
 
I am very happy that I made the decision to join Everton. Being happy can only lead me to improving further and helping the team to perform out on the pitch. I want the best for Everton, so I'm going to try to make this happen, giving my all and contributing where I can so that Everton can return to its glory days. 
 
The future at Everton is bright because there is a lot of quality footballers in our squad. We want to finish the season strongly and we have enjoyed two great victories over Chelsea and Arsenal at our home stadium Goodison Park in the last month.
 
We also beat West Ham  United 2-0 away from home at the London Stadium and I was really pleased to score my first goal in that game. I think I have played some good matches for Everton but because I hit the net in that game and I was awarded the Man of the Match prize, I believe it was my best one so far this season. 
 
The first goal for a new club is always the toughest. It was the same for me when I played for Atlético Mineiro. It took a little while to open my account but after the first goal went in, a lot of goals came. Now I am looking forward to scoring many more for Everton!
 
Until next time, Bernard.