Firmino determined to join Brazil's list of legendary No.9s and get his hands on the World Cup

Firmino Brasil Bolívia Eliminatórias 09 10 2020
Lucas Figueiredo/CBF
The Liverpool striker is hoping to build on a match-winning display against Bolivia as the Selecao begin their march towards Qatar 2022

Roberto Firmino has outlined his ambition to join Brazil's list of legendary No.9s and get his hands on the World Cup.

Firmino was handed his international debut back in 2014, and has since won 45 caps for the Selecao, scoring 15 goals.

Two of those efforts were recorded as Tite's side opened their latest World Cup qualifying campaign with a 5-0 win against Bolivia on Saturday.

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Brazil have been blessed with some of the greatest strikers of all-time, with the likes of Careca, Romario and Ronaldo all earning a place in the country's hall of fame for their exploits in the final third.

They have, however, struggled to find Ronaldo's successor since his retirement in 2011, with the likes of Alexandre Pato, Vagner Love, Fred and Luis Fabiano all failing to live up to the same high standards.

Firmino has also faced plenty of criticism since taking up a highly coveted role in the team due to his modest goalscoring record, but he still has plenty of faith in his own ability.

Asked if he wants to follow in the footsteps of Brazil's most revered frontmen, the Liverpool star told "Yes, definitely. I love playing in this position, I want to be the player Brazil can rely on in this position."

Firmino's defensive work has been a staple of his time at Anfield, but Tite wants his main focus to be getting on the end of attacks at international level, which he is now embracing.

"It’s not that he asked me not to help out, but he wants me to always be in the area. I still have to get back to mark, but he wants me to chase back less after the ball, be in the box more," the 29-year-old said of his responsibilities for the Selecao.

"I have a natural urge to help out, get back – I do this for Liverpool – so I have to put this aside and do what Tite has asked of me.

"I enjoy being involved in play, creating goals, but I also enjoy being in the box, scoring goals."

Firmino added on Brazil's emphatic victory over Bolivia: "The performance of the whole team, the spirit we showed deserves congratulations. Getting off to a winning start was really important, and to do it with such a good performance makes it even better.

"Scoring two goals was an incredible feeling. I had more chances, I could have scored more, but I’m very happy. I’m 29, I feel I’m at the best moment of my career.

"I want to keep working hard and help Selecao reach the World Cup."

Next up for Brazil is a repeat of the 2019 Copa America final against Peru on Wednesday, as their march to Qatar 2022 begins to gather some pace.

Pressed on what winning the World Cup would mean to him on a personal level, Firmino responded: "So, so, so, so much. Much more than you can imagine. I’ve won the Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup, the Premier League. [The World Cup] is what’s missing for me.

"I have to keep working hard and dreaming, and we have to believe that this is possible in 2022. I’m immensely proud to be part of this Selecao, to play with these players, for these coaches.

"I have tremendous belief in this group of players and the coaching staff."