Diogo Jota signed for Liverpool last week, marking his rise from young midfield hopeful to new forward recruit for the best team in England.
The Portuguese attacker has had a quick upward trajectory in his career, from Pacos Ferreira to Atletico Madrid, a pit-stop at Porto, then Wolves and finally Anfield.
At age 23 it’s a fair few moves to have made already, but they have been carefully chosen to aid his career progression and with a determination to involve himself in first-team football instantly.
Jota has highlighted some key moments in his rise along the way, with Andy Brassell detailing several for the Independent today.
Most notably is the single pre-season he spent at Atletico in 2016; Jota never played a game for Los Rojiblancos, but did go through one of the notoriously tough summer spells under Diego Simeone and his coaches which “left some players throwing up on the sidelines.”
That intensity and the massive demands on the players were not the reason he left the Wanda Metropolitano club – or the Vicente Calderon club as they were at the time – but it still left an impression upon him as what was required to succeed at the highest level, given Atleti had just reached the Champions League final after he joined them.
However, Jota wanted to be playing, showcasing his abilities.
“I didn’t want to be always sat in the stand,” he said, when asked for the reason why he left Atletico so quickly.
The forward always wants to be involved, always wants to be improving, and an old academy coach Vasco Seabra perhaps gave an insight as to why Jurgen Klopp will be such an admirer: “He trains like he plays. He’s humble, but very, very ambitious.”
It’s well-known that Klopp places as much emphasis on a character’s work rate and selflessness, just as much as their tactical understanding and technical traits.
Jota was questioned when he moved from one of the top clubs in Spain to a Championship outfit in Wolves, but once more that personal determination shone through as he excelled, in both that league and the top tier, to prove himself as capable of stepping up once more.
Even now after joining, there’s a feeling from some quarters he is coming in as a backup, a player who has quality, but is currently a tier below those he is now team-mates with.
If his past is anything to go by, and the comments made by both himself and his coaches can be believed, Jota shouldn’t be written off as anything other than another success story waiting to be written out at Anfield.