"I'd be nothing without my family"

Maicosuel Reginaldo de Matos, as his full name reads, has been at Hoffenheim since the beginning of July. Now it is time to introduce the Brazilian trickster properly.

Almost four months have passed since Maicosuel's transfer from Botafogo to Hoffenheim, but the first few weeks were difficult for the young Brazilian: "I had a difficult time in Germany at the start both on and off the pitch. I had to get used to several new things and learn what it's about to live in a foreign country," explained Maico, as he is affectionately known within the team. "The football in Germany is much quicker, more dynamic and most of all there is a lot more tackling. In Brazil you get more time on the ball. It was quite a transition for me."

In Brazil, Maicosuel was one of the biggest stars in the league, where he took all the plaudits in the media with terms such as 'The Maicoshow' and 'Maicocruel' coined in his honour. He was voted the best left sided midfielder, as well as the best player in the Rio State Championship for 2009. In addition he notched an impressive 12 goals in 18 appearances. Whether out on the pitch or in the gym, Maicosuel is constantly working on his game: "I watch and learn from my team-mates. I've improved a lot by doing that. I listen very closely to the manager and the other players and I understand how I can support the team. Slowly it's starting to bear fruit. My family are my greatest support, though. They really like it here which means I'm free to concentrate on my football."

This was not always the case in Brazil, as the 1.78m midfielder revealed: "In Germany it's a lot safer. You don't need to fear for your life the entire time." The Cosópolis born schemer learned about the darker side of big cities in places like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Maico has been married to Mari for four years and has a young daughter Eduarda, who he affectionately calls 'Dudinha'. "I'd be nothing without my family. They mean everything to me and I always dedicate my goals to Dudinha, who I love more than anything," said the skilful No7. As well as his family, fellow Brazilians Carlos Eduardo, Luiz Gustavo and goalkeeping coach Cesar Thier also help him out: "We meet up quite a lot. We became good friends very quickly and we can all help each other out with our problems and hang out together in our free time," explained Maicosuel. Together with the two Brazilians, Maicosuel is studying German every week with teacher Raquel Rosa Zembrod and informed us of the progress he has been making: "My German is coming along very slowly, but I'm sure I'll get there eventually."

The Brazilian also talked us through his first Bundesliga goal against Borussia Mönchengladbach: "Carlos brought the ball inside and played it in behind the defence. Salihovic laid the ball across and I was in just the right place to tap the ball home. It was a big weight off my shoulders. I was happy to be able to contribute something to the team." Maicosuel is particularly looking forward to seeing the winter snow. "I've experienced temperatures like this before, but I've never seen snow. I think it's going to be a bit cold for me but I'm sure I'll get used to it." Maico was also full of praise for the Bundesliga: "Everything is so well organised in the Bundesliga. Even the really small clubs are well structured. The Bundesliga is one of the best leagues in the world. It's really good fun playing in modern, sold-out stadiums every week." Hopefully he'll be doing so for years to come with 1899 Hoffenheim!

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