11-year-old soccer phenom Gabriel Muniz is just like most Brazilian boys: He enjoys kicking the ball around with his friends, idolizes Lionel Messi, and "loves challenging social norms," according to his gym teacher.
But what sets Gabriel apart from his peers is that fact that his soccer skills recently scored him an invite to a training camp east of Rio run by the prestigious soccer club FC Barcelona.
"The disability only exists inside our heads and he is proving it to everyone," said PE teacher Jose Lopes of the boy who prefers to put away his foot-ankle prosthetics before hitting the soccer pitch. "When he arrived [at the training camp in Saquarema], no one believed in him. But he proved to everyone there, he can go head to head with any other boy."
Gabriel's tenacity and talent have further earned him a trip to the club's academy in Barcelona next month.