August 2018 Coutinho's Gift
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More than anything in life, Wallace Rocha, 12, from Rio de Janeiro’s Vila Cruzeiro favela wanted a football shirt with Philippe Coutinho’s name on it, to wear during the FIFA World Cup. Neither his mother, Sandra de Oliveira, an unemployed cleaner, nor his stepfather could afford the US$66 it was going to cost. Instead a local seamstress created a lookalike Brazil top for the equivalent of US$2.75. His mother used a green marker to write ‘Coutinho’ on the shirt and he went proudly off to watch Brazil beat Costa Rica on a free viewing screen in the favela.
It was there that a photographer took the picture of Wallace which went viral on social media and which four hours later reached Philippe Coutinho in Moscow. He interrupted his training to record a video to thank his young fan and arranged for an autographed jersey to be sent to Wallace to wear for the duration of the FIFA World Cup.