The arms of Bengaluru FC’s new signing Francisco Jose Perdomo Borges, generally often called Nili, are lined in tattoos. There’s a lion, to indicate that he’s the king of the soccer jungle. A practising Christian, Nili has made area for a few Buddha portraits. The quantity 29 signifies his childhood jersey quantity.
A grand tattoo of Greek god Zeus, nevertheless, stands out as essentially the most important. “Zeus is for my grandfather, because he is the god of all gods,” Nili says.
It’s evident that Nili, born and raised within the Spanish metropolis of Las Palmas, owes an important debt to his grandfather, Rafael Perdomo, who saved him from a tumultuous childhood
“My life as a kid was not easy. My father and mother fought all the time. When I was seven, I moved out with my mother. But she had problems with alcohol and drugs. She used to hit me a lot, so I was forced to live on the streets. I didn’t have any money. I would wander around and peer through house windows. If I saw fruits or food inside, I would steal it. Those were desperate times,” Nili remembers.
Simply when his younger life was spiralling uncontrolled, his grandfather stepped in. “My grandfather is my angel — he is the most important person in my life. When I was 10, he took me in and cared for me,” Nili says.
To offer Nili a constructive outlet, Rafael obtained him to enrol within the Union Deportiva Las Palmas soccer academy. Nili — a flexible footballer who can play on the wings or in midfield — excelled on the sport and earned a spot within the senior Las Palmas reserves aspect in 2013.
His large break got here three years later, when he joined Barcelona on the age of 22. Nili was now enjoying alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez. “It is a luxury to train with guys like Messi. You can learn so much in every single minute of training. Off the field, Neymar is like me — he likes to have fun. Messi is more quiet and serious,” Nili says.
However the dream transfer didn’t final lengthy. Nili managed only a solitary look — instead in a Copa del Rey match — earlier than signing with decrease division aspect Albacete Balompie.
Nili, who describes himself as easy small-town boy, couldn’t deal with the stress of expectations at Barcelona. “When I was in Las Palmas, I played football because I loved the sport. In Barcelona, you need to win every single game and every single title. If you miss a pass in Las Palmas, the coach would say, ‘No problem. Keep going. You can do better next time’. In Barcelona, it was different. If you cannot maintain a very high standard, then someone else will take your place,” Nili says.
His quick stint at Barca wasn’t all dangerous. Nili takes nice pleasure in telling the story of how Messi made his grandfather a cheerful man. “My grandfather, for the first time in his life, travelled from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to the mainland. He came to see me train. After training, I asked Messi if he could take a photo with my grandfather. Messi readily agreed, and even gave my grandfather his jersey as a gift. That meant the world to me,” Nili says.
In 2018, Nili left Spain to play for Greek aspect Platanias. A chat with an previous pal, Odisha FC striker Aridane Santana, satisfied him to make the transfer to BFC. “Aridane and I played together in Albacete; he also lived in the Canary Islands. We are like brothers. He told me that I should join BFC because they are an established Indian club. He felt I could perform well in the Indian Super League,” Nili says.
These are early days within the Nili-BFC alliance, however the participant has already skilled a couple of highs. Earlier this month, Nili obtained the possibility to journey to Thimphu for an AFC Cup preliminary-stage conflict in opposition to Paro FC. For Nili, Bhutan felt like his religious dwelling. “I have two Buddha tattoos. Bhutan has a rich Buddhist history. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to Bhutan. I never thought it would happen. Thailand maybe, but Bhutan… never,” Nili says.
Having overcome the trials and tribulations of the previous, Nili is now actually at peace. “I was once out on the streets, but now my life is great. My wife and daughter — they are my main motivation now. Whenever I do something silly, my wife pulls me back on track. You need someone like that in your life to take you in the right direction. My grandfather played that role when I was young. I will do all I can to support my family,” Nili says.