Wendell Lira: The Puskás Award saved my life

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“I’d already decided I was going to end my life,” Wendell Lira, then a debt-ridden, injury-plagued footballer, candidly told FIFA.com. “When you can’t put food on the table, give your daughter and wife the minimum they need to get by… I saw no way out.

“I’d spent the whole night crying. I was going to play a friendly in Goianesia. On the way from Goiania to Goianesia I cried my eyes out, because I’d already planned on ending my life on that journey. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I returned home. I hugged my daughter and knew I couldn’t let her grow up without a father.

“Two days later I got the news I’d been nominated for the Puskás Award. It saved my life, allowed me to turn it around, rewrite my story, win the Puskás, get the opportunities it brought, work and support my family.

“The award came at a really, really crucial moment. Thank God I didn’t end up making that huge mistake.”

Wendell Lira sizzled as a Brazil youth international, alongside Denilson, Willian and Alexandre Pato, and was the subject of a bid from AC

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