Wesley Moraes Ferreira da Silva (born 24 November 1996), commonly known as Wesley, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a centre forward for Premier League club Aston Villa and the Brazil national team.
Wesley with Club Brugge in 2019
|Full name||Wesley Moraes Ferreira da Silva|
|Date of birth||24 November 1996|
|Place of birth||Juiz de Fora, Brazil|
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|2011||Sport Juiz de Fora|
|2013||Sport Juiz de Fora|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 January 2020|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15 November 2019
He began his career at Brazilian side Itabuna before moving to Trenčín in the Slovak Super Liga and subsequently Club Brugge where he won two league titles and was named Belgian Young Professional Footballer of the Year in 2018. He made his international debut for Brazil in November 2019.
Youth career and ItabunaEdit
As a youngster Moraes played futsal around his hometown of Juiz de Fora. Moving to football, he represented both Associação Esportiva Uberabinha and Sport Club Juiz de Fora for different periods. In 2013, he also spent three months at Atlético Mineiro, but was released; in that year, he also played for Tupi.
Having joined local side Itabuna at eighteen, Wesley played semi-professionally in the state level Campeonato Baiano in 2014, but stayed at the club for just three months. He later went on trial with European clubs including a lengthy six-month trial at Atlético Madrid's academy side where he played in tournaments in Bilbao and Croatia, and later a three-month trial at AS Nancy; neither club offered him a professional contract. Wesley also trialled with then Ligue 2 side Evian.
Wesley joined AS Trenčín of the Slovak Super Liga in July 2015, who had become aware of him after his trials in Europe. On 14 July 2015, he played for Trenčín against FCSB in the second round of qualification of the 2015–2016 Champions League. He scored twice for Trenčín in the return match against FCSB, helping his side to a 3–2 win but the club did not proceed to the next round.
Wesley moved to Club Brugge on 29 January 2016. He scored his first goal in his debut match against KVC Westerlo. Brugges worked to tone down his aggression during games which led to a number of yellow cards and a sending off in his first season, he wore tape on his hands in a match against Royal Antwerp as a reminder to not react.
On 13 June 2019, Wesley signed for Aston Villa in the Premier League, for a fee of £22,000,000. Following a week-long training camp with the rest of the squad, Wesley made his debut for Villa in a friendly match against Minnesota United on 17 July 2019. Wesley scored his first Villa goal in his third appearance, opening the scoring in the 2–0 win over Everton on 23 August, with a first time strike beating Jordan Pickford.
On 1 January 2020, Wesley suffered a severe cruciate knee ligament injury after a tackle from Burnley's Ben Mee. Wesley had scored earlier in the game, a 2-1 win. His injury is predicted to take around nine months to recover from.
Style of playEdit
Wesley was born with one leg almost three centimetres shorter than the other, which has led to comparisons in his movement to legendary compatriot Garrincha. He was also compared with former Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke by Joseph Chapman from the Birmingham Mail, for his strong aerial threat while being confident with the ball at his feet.
Wesley grew up in the city of Juiz de Fora, distant some 200 kilometres from Rio de Janeiro. His father was a footballer who played as a midfielder but only made a small amount of money from playing; Wesley credited his father as having taught him the game of football. His father became partially disabled later in his life and died following a brain tumour when Wesley was nine years of age.
Wesley has two children from different relationships, Yan and Maria Eduarda, both of whom he fathered as a teenager. He had his first child at the age of 14 and his second at the age of 16. As a sixteen-year-old he worked in a factory sorting screws to support his family between football trials before his move to AS Trencin.
|Itabuna||2014||Baiano 2ª Divisão||—||1||0||—||—||—||1||0|
|Club Brugge||2015–16||Belgian First Division A||6||2||—||—||—||—||6||2|
|2016–17||Belgian First Division A||25||6||—||1||0||5[a]||0||1[b]||0||32||6|
|2017–18||Belgian First Division A||38||11||—||5||2||1[c]||0||—||44||13|
|2018–19||Belgian First Division A||38||13||—||1||0||8[d]||3||1[b]||1||48||17|
|Aston Villa||2019–20||Premier League||21||5||—||1||1||0||0||0||0||22||6|
|Aston Villa total||21||5||0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||22||6|
- "2019/20 Premier League squads confirmed". Premier League. 3 September 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "Wesley: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- "Wesley Moraes: Aston Villa's record signing with a remarkable backstory". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
- "Dispensado pelo Atlético, destaque na Bélgica e cobiçado pelo Bayern: conheça a história do atacante Wesley Moraes" [Released by Atlético, spotlight in Belgium and wanted by Bayern: know the story of forward Wesley Moraes] (in Portuguese). SuperEsportes. 10 November 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
- "Quando Wesley Moraes era Jacaré: histórias do atacante da Seleção no futebol amador" [When Wesley Moraes was Jacaré: the stories of the forward of the Seleção in the amateur football] (in Portuguese). Globo Esporte. 16 November 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
- "Brazilian sensation in Belgium is compared to Lukaku and wants to shine in the Champions League". ESPN (Portuguese). Retrieved 14 June 2019.
- "Millionaire player sale may 'resurrect' Itabuna (Portuguese)". Atiuidade Esporte News. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
- "How Wesley Moraes arrived at Aston Villa via Brazil, Slovakia and Belgium". The Times. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
- "Aston Villa sign Wesley Moraes from Club Brugge for £22m". Sky Sports. 13 June 2019.
- "'Looks the part' This is how Wesley Moraes played on his Aston Villa debut in Minnesota". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- Husband, Ben (2 January 2020). "Details emerge on the severity of Aston Villa striker Wesley's injury". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- "Brazil vs. Argentina – 15 November 2019". Soccerway. 15 November 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- "Who is Wesley Moraes?". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- "Aston Villa's Wesley: How being a dad at 14 motivated me". Sky Sports.
- "Wesley " Club matches". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
- "Wesley Moraes". Soccerway.
- "Aston Villa sign Wesley from Club Brugge for club record fee". BBC Sport. 13 June 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
- "Aston Villa agree transfer of Wesley". Aston Villa F.C. Retrieved 13 June 2019.