Former Manchester United midfielder Andres Pereira has revealed his admiration for Brazilian legend Kaka and confessed to a bizarre pre-match ritual which includes a pair of the superstar’s old shorts.
Pereira, who now plies his trade with Fulham after leaving United in the summer of 2022, told the tale of meeting Kaka after a Champions League game where he was a ball boy for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
As reported by The Sun, during an interview with ESPN Brazil, Pereira recalled the special night after Ferguson asked him to be a part of the ball boy team.
“It was a Champions League match between Manchester and Real Madrid and I was a ball boy. Alex Ferguson asked the U21 and U18 players if they wanted to be ball boys, because he needed the ball quicker and so on,” said Pereira.
The young man held on to meet his idol after the game and was desperate to claim a memento from the encounter.
“After the game, I waited and saw Kaka. I asked for his shirt, but he said he’d already changed. Then I said: anything then, a sock, shorts, I don’t know.
“He said he had a pair of shorts, I said it would do. He gave it to me, it was incredible, and the shorts are still in a safe to this day,” he said.
Pereira then revealed he even uses the shorts as a good luck charm before he plays.
“Every now and then, before an important game, I go and get them to give me confidence, to rub on my leg,” said the midfielder.
The 27-year-old plays with Brazilian winger Willian at Craven Cottage and told ESPN his new teammate arranged a telephone call between him and his hero.
“Two weeks ago, I was at Willian’s house and he asked me who I really admired. I said I’d always liked Kaka a lot. He said he knew Kaka and said he was going to ring him. I thought: he must be joking.
“He called, I heard his voice and I couldn’t stand it, I cried. I spoke to him, to this day I can’t believe I spoke to Kaka. Everyone was in shock,” he said.
Pereira has found his form since leaving United, enjoying a fine season last year under the tutelage of Marco Silva and becoming a key cog in the wheel in West London.