Vinicius Junior, a Real Madrid striker, explained how Marcus Rashford motivated him as he started a new project to enhance social mobility in Brazil.
The 21-year-old aspires to make his native country more equitable, and the app Base, developed by the Instituto Vini Jr, aims to provide young children from low-income families with more access to school.
Although university education is free in Brazil, more affluent parents choose to send their children to private, fee-paying institutions, which many think contributes to a social imbalance in educational access.
Vinicius – whose old school in Rio de Janiero has launched the app – now wants more Brazilian children to be able to learn through football.
The Real Madrid star has now admitted he has been inspired by the actions of Manchester United striker and England international Rashford.
Speaking of his inspiration for his Brazilian project, Vinicius told an interview with The Guardian : “I just thought that I could do more and I’m doing more.
“We have a lot of examples of athletes doing that. I’ve been inspired by what LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton and Marcus Rashford are doing.
“So, I began doing something for my neighbourhood first, but who knows if it can grow across Brazil.”
Vinicius is the sole investor of the Instituto Vini Jr, which he has spent approximately £275k of his own money to fund.
He has described that the app will “unite football and education” to make learning “more fun” for children and encourage them to stay in education.
The Brazilian insisted his focus was on reducing “the big educational gap” which existed between rich and poor within his nation with a core belief in making education widely available for everyone.
“They use the app while they are in school. It has a lot of exercises and levels which they have to answer correctly to pass,” he added.
“We also do face-to-face activities with the students, always using sports as the background for maths and Portuguese, for example.
“But they learn more about social problems in the world, like how we need to better treat the environment and treat people with equality.”