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Life Before Wolves | Léo Bonatini

An impressive loan spell at Molineux last season convinced Wolves to bring Léo Bonatini to the club permanently, but the striker had experienced a great deal previously.

The Brazilian won the league and cup double in Saudi Arabia, after he’d achieved a great deal at Goiás. Now he sits down to discuss his life before Wolves.

THE DEVELOPMENT - Cruzeiro | 2010-2015

“It was a really important time for me because I was in the Academy there. It was the club which formed me. I’m really grateful for them, I played for the youth national team because I was playing Cruzeiro and I thank them.”

FIRST TEAM OPPORTUNITY - Goiás | 2013/14

“It was the first time I played in a first team. I played for the manager when I was in school, so it was good. It was the first time I got to play in the first league in Brazil. I played my first game and scored my first goal there, so it was nice. I would like to go back and play in Brazil again because I didn’t have many opportunities to play there but at the end of my career I’d like to.”

FIRST GOAL - Goiás | 2013

“It was nice because we played in a championship of the states because Brazil is really big. It was in the countryside and it was a nice feeling to play and score for the first team. You always get butterflies in the belly when you score – you never lose it; every goal is important. My friend hit the post and I scored the rebound with my right foot.”

EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE - Estoril | 2015-16

“Estoril was really important for me because I was playing for Cruzeiro but went on loan for six months and it was good because I had a really good opportunity to play. I played 11 games and three on the bench, so it was good. Then they bought me and the next year I was in the top five of the top scorers, so it was a really good season. I still have friends there and my agent is the owner of the team. It’s the team I look out for in Europe.”

LEAGUE & CUP DOUBLE - Al-Hilal | 2016-18

“We won the league and the biggest cup. We did it for the first time in the club’s history and became the first club to do the double. It was a good opportunity to play. Everyone questions the level in Saudi Arabia but it’s hard to play there because everyone wants to beat Al-Hilal. We played in the Champions League of Asia so it was nice and I enjoyed it. I was the top scorer for the team and we had some Brazilians which made life easier. I was surprised how helpful everyone was there and I loved living in Saudi Arabia.”

This article first appeared in the Wolves versus Southampton matchday programme, which is available around Molineux on matchdays for just £3.50, and also featured content with Diogo Jota, Ryan Bennett and Sam Winnall. Back issues are available in the Molineux Megastore and online now.