Monaco’s highly rated young stopper Wallace is drawing inspiration from teammates and foes alike as he looks to help his side clinch second place – starting with Sunday’s clash against the champions at the Parc des Princes.
In August 2014, Brazilian centre-back Wallace arrived in Monaco billed as one of the most promising defensive talents in the game.
“I come from Jardim Nazareno in Rio de Janeiro, an area nobody knows, there isn’t even a football pitch there, there is nothing,” the Brazilian told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN SPORTS. “I used to come home with dust all over my legs and my mum would have a go at me. I’m very proud today; my family have given me a lot of support.”
Now in his second season at the Stade Louis II, the 21-year-old is beginning to show why he is so highly regarded, despite ill-disciplined beginnings in the principality.
“After a couple of red cards, everybody assumed that I was an aggressive, unpredictable type of player, not yet ready for the big-time. Actually I like to stay calm and keep things simple and let the ball do the work.”
Having made just 12 league starts in his first season in France, the 6ft2 defender has found a mentor in centre-back partner Ricardo Carvalho – helping him become a near ever-present for Monaco this term.
“Firstly, for me, it is a unique opportunity, every young football fan knows Ricardo Carvalho, the titles he has won and the clubs he has played for,” Wallace declared. “I feel comfortable alongside him now; I have got used to it. I am delighted to be playing alongside him at this point.”
Though Wallace is delighted to evolve alongside the Portuguese veteran, the Braga-loanee is most impressed by a fellow Brazilian, one he will face on Sunday at the Parc des Princes.
“I try to play like Thiago Silva,” Wallace revealed. “He is very determined, technically brilliant, and always fully focused.”
Mission: Second place
And though Thiago Silva’s PSG have left Monaco behind in the title race this term, Wallace and co. know that with eight games left, a second-placed finish is still far from secure.
“We have a six-point advantage now. That is what matters,” he said. “We have our noses in front and we’ll try to keep it that way.”
The Rio-born defender is well aware that, following in the footsteps of world-class talent at Monaco, he could soon become hot property. For now though, the youngster remains grounded.
“For now, Monaco are my priority because that is where I am,” he explained. “If another club make a good offer or if Braga need me, then I can be made available.”