Batata started his soccer career in an Italian community team called
Juventus, suburban of Curitiba city, capital of Parana in Brazil. He was
only 11 years old when he rode his old bike into Juventus tryouts and
posed as a goal-keeper to then coach Tito who
looking at the short goaltender said: go and play attacking
midfielder for me. Surely a good way to
get rid of another of many players attending his tryouts.
Batata or "little potato" scored two
goals in less than five minutes or two times he touched the ball and
immediately after his second play he was interrupted by Tito who waived
to him out of the field. Tito looked at him and said: you are no keeper
and you cannot play at this level. Your next practice is tomorrow with
our u14 team at 15:00. His days as goalkeeper seemed to be numbered.
Nilton Batata was
given his nickname of Batata or "little potato" in his early school
years by one of his classmates who used to play soccer with him after
hours. "Nilton looks like a little potato rolling between his opponents
as he dribbles them", he teased Batata who thought that made no sense.
What made sense was the fact that teasing stayed with Nilton for the
rest of his school years and eventually throughout his career.
Because Batata was always younger and much smaller than his
counterparts people who watched him play were attracted by his quickness
and skills but truly amused by his "little potato" nickname
announcements during preliminary matches at professional games.
After two years and half with Juventus Nilton Batata
decided to tryout for Club Atletico Paranaense by his brother's
suggestion who knew the head coach.
Nilton Batata arrived at "Baixada" stadium along with another one
hundred players and waited for almost three hours to be called. His
coach put almost everybody in but he missed this little guy sitting
against the fence without shirt. Embarrassed by his mistake he invited
Batata to show up next day...
more to come...