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"New Kaka" Hernanes: I can handle the pressure

“Playing abroad is part of a player’s career in Brazil and I see that it’s going to happen at some point,” the 23-year-old said in an exclusive interview in this month’s FourFourTwo, out now.

Equally comfortable with either foot, the versatile midfielder shot to prominence at the Beijing Olympics before returning to dazzle at Sao Paulo’s Morumbi stadium.

And although the eyes of the world are on him, the man now wearing No.10 shirt made famous by Rai, Leonardo, Juninho and Kaka knows he can handle the pressure of being spoken about as football's first £100m man.

“My childhood nickname is Pi, and a friend said ‘You’re Pi – 3.14. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing No.15, No.10 or No.2. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing on the streets, on concrete or in a crowded Morumbi. You’ll always be Pi.’

“I thought that was true. I’ll always be cool about it. I know there’ll be expectations, but I’m sure I can improve. I’m OK with the responsibility – 2009 will be my year of consolidation as an idol.”

Barcelona and CSKA Moscow have made enquiries, but Hernanes is equally cool about where he wants to end up: “I wouldn’t consider playing in Russia or any other minor footballing nation.”

To read the full interview, catch the latest issue of FourFourTwo, out now.

It's a South America special and features the 10 best new wonderkids from that continent, including exclusive interviews with Manchester United’s twins Fabio (opens in new tab) and Rafael (opens in new tab) da Silva.

There are also interviews with Zico and Socrates; a look at the Boca Juniors academy responsible for Tevez (opens in new tab), Burdisso (opens in new tab), Gago (opens in new tab), Banega (opens in new tab) et al; and the Lord of the Rings star so dedicated to Argentine outfit San Lorenzo that he bunked off a film set to see them play.

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Gary Parkinson is a freelance writer, editor, trainer, muso, singer, actor and coach. He spent 14 years at FourFourTwo as the Global Digital Editor and continues to regularly contribute to the magazine and website, including major features on Euro 96, Subbuteo, Robert Maxwell and the inside story of Liverpool's 1990 title win. He is also a Bolton Wanderers fan.