Emiliano Marconde Camargo Hansen is a Danish international with Brazilian roots and will be returning to the South American country for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The 21-year-old currently plays for FC Nordsjaelland and is a key member of Denmark’s U-23 squad for the Men’s Soccer Tournament at the games in Brazil. As an extra twist to the narrative, the midfielders declared nation Denmark will be facing the host nation in Salvador on August 10 in Group A.
Born to a Danish father and Brazilian mother, the midfielder grew up with diverse roots and has long felt Samba’s influence on his life, particularly in sport. “When I play football I feel more Brazilian,” he told Brazilian newspaper UOL.
Delighted by the possibility of facing the nation of his mother, Emiliano will become a tour guide to his fellow Under-23 teammates. “They always ask me about Brazil. They want to know about, Brazil, Copacabana beach and the food,” he said.
The Denmark international says it was separation from his mother that spurred him on to be a top professional. “I was born and grew up in Hvidovre, near Copenhagen, with my brother, father and mother,” he told FIFA.com.
“My parents separated when I was nine and I continued living with my father. My mother had to leave Denmark to go to home to Sao Paolo because the cost of living was too much for her. That’s when I sought refuge in football. I missed my mother and playing football was the only thing that filled that void, so I played a lot. That’s undoubtedly why I’m here today.”
Marcondes adds the renowned Brazilian flair to his own style and side’s makeup, one that is imprinted within his footballing DNA.
Due to his background he Nordsjaelland midfielder has a varied pool of players to draw inspiration from, ranging from Brazilian World Cup winners to one Danish superstar in particular, there are plenty to choose from.
“Brazilian players were my heroes as a child, even more so than Michael Laudrup, whose talent I obviously respect a lot. Overall, I always found the Brazilian way of playing more attractive. It was always beautiful to watch and effective. Their 2002 World Cup win is one of my fondest memories from childhood.”
Starting from next season, I’ll only have ‘Emiliano’ on the back of my shirt,” he explained, having opted to drop his family name from the equation. At Rio 2016 the midfielder is looking to reconnect with his roots.
“I love spectacle and emotion in sport,” he said. “With all due respect to Danish players, I think Brazilians contribute more of that in their way of playing and dribbling. I genuinely think I have that Brazilian side to me. And Brazil has a place in my life outside football too. My apartment is filled with homages to the country, from the flag in my living room to the cups in my kitchen and the drums in my bedroom. Plus I really love Brazilian cuisine.”
Denmark will begin their Olympic campaign against Iraq in the tournaments opening game on August 4 in Brasilia. They will then face South Africa on August 7 before facing Brazil in the final game of Group A.