Retro Corner: The truly amazing tale of Amaral

Olympian, grave-digger, Coppa Italia winner, reality tv star, percussionist, Masked Singer entrant and Dancing With The Stars finalist.

The latest batch of candidates preparing to dine on jungle grubs and endure various other unpleasantries in the next series of “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!”, perhaps?

Not quite.

These are just some of the highlights plucked from the truly weird and wonderful resume of former Glory midfielder, Amaral.

It is genuinely difficult to know where to start when it comes to telling the story of a man who played for 21 clubs during a 23-year career while also thoroughly indulging his, shall we say eclectic, range of off-field passions.

Perth Glory represented just a relatively brief stop along the Brazilian’s remarkable and bizarre journey, but he still managed to make quite an impact.

He chalked up nine appearances during the 2008-09 season, catching the eye with his range of passing, his habit of whistling at teammates when seeking a pass and his refusal to allow what was a very rigid language barrier to prevent him from enthusiastically engaging with match officials at every opportunity.

At times, he was untouchable on the club’s Tompkins Park training ground, retaining possession under pressure with almost casual ease.

He was decidedly less casual in his approach towards the adjacent Swan River, however, having been told by a mischievous teammate that it was infested with saltwater crocodiles.

When a stray ball headed anywhere near the bank, there was no way Amaral was collecting it.

Fortunately, he usually had at least a few members of his entourage with him and they were more willing to help out and run the risk of being savaged by the fictitious reptiles.

In fact, Amaral was rarely, if ever, alone during his time in Perth.

Even sit-down interviews were held up while he and his crew sang and played bongos and congas and his rambling answers, conveyed via a range of self-appointed translators, were regularly interrupted by bursts of song and impromptu dance routines.

It was all gloriously loud, flamboyant and chaotic and in some ways, served as a microcosm of a life lived very much to its fullest.

Born in 1973, according to his passport, at least, Amaral grew up in Capivari in the state of Sao Paolo and after making ends meet by working as a labourer at a local cemetery, he burst onto the professional football scene at Palmeiras with whom he won two league titles in 1993 and 1994.

Then his nomadic adventures began with a move to Italian club Parma who were in their pomp both domestically and in European competition at the time.

With the likes of Italy midfield mainstay Dino Baggio, Croatian star Mario Stanic and French international Daniel Bravo all on the books at the Stadio Ennio Tardini at the time, the new arrival was restricted to just four first-team appearances.

So off he headed to Portuguese giants Benfica, before returning to Brazil to win further league titles with both Corinthians and Vasco De Gama.

By this time, he’d also collected an Olympic bronze medal as part of a star-studded Brazil side which included the likes of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos.

He also managed to accumulate 10 senior Brazil caps in the space of one year and then, oddly, never featured for the Selecao again.

By the turn of the century, he was back in Italy, this time with Fiorentina whom he helped secure the Coppa Italia a year later and a subsequent move to Besiktas saw him add a Turkish Super Lig winners’ medal to his collection of silverware in 2003.

Spells followed in Poland and Qatar before he appeared on Glory’s radar and impressed during the 2008 pre-season trip to Indonesia.

“He’s an ultimate professional,” said then-Glory Head Coach Dave Mitchell, before adding, with tongue firmly in cheek;

“He’s very fit and he’s looked after his body.

“He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t go out with bad women, so he’s ok.”

Perhaps at the age of 35 his powers were fading, perhaps the transitional style of the A-League didn’t suit his style of play, but either way, the midfielder was unable to really dominate in purple in 2008-09 and by the time the 2009-10 season appeared on the horizon, he was gone.

He eventually hung up his boots in his native Brazil at the age of 42, but there was no way he was going to drift gently off into obscurity.

An appearance on farm-based reality tv series A Fazenda 8 followed, in which he was the first contestant eliminated after apparently failing to get to grips with the cow herd.

But he fared better as a contestant on Dancing Brasil 4, placing fourth and receiving particular praise for his rumba, jazz and cha-cha-cha performances.

And as recently as last year, the former Glory man appeared dressed as a dog in The Masked Singer Brazil, singing three songs over the course of two episodes before being eliminated.

Check out one of his performances HERE.

So what’s next for Amaral?

A Netflix series documenting his life story?

An online diary blog for his 1.3 million Instagram followers?

If we’ve learned anything about this most mercurial of characters, it is surely not to rule anything out.