Felipe To Call Time On Fabulous Career

At the end of this season, Felipe is to call it time on an illustrious career in football, ending it with Nottingham Forest.

Every plant has deep roots, all of which have spent periods and periods of time digging through the dirt to ensure growth. Similarly to that, Felipe endured heartbreak & doubt before succeeding, eventually, in football.

It all started with Corinthians, and you maybe thinking that he started there straight away, but you’d be mistaken. While a lover of football, Felipe knew he had to start providing for himself, as his parents relayed to him, and a career in football was becoming more unlikely by the day. Eventually, as mentioned, Corinthians came into the equation when Felipe, then 14, took part in a trial for the clubs academy – ultimately being rejected as he “failed to impress” those at the club. Now, he had to find work – living in São Paulo, Brazil, he soon joined his mother in-law, delivering mushrooms to restaurants across the City. On the side of this, determined to forge a career in football, he successfully trialled for Valtra, a club partnered with União football club, who were in the Paulista Série A2. Eventually, Felipe joined União despite early setback, at age 19, for União.


At the São Paulo outfit, Felipe made his debut in the Campeonato Paulista Série A2. Later he would feature in pre-season friendlies, one of them being against Série B side Bragantino – he quickly caught the eye of then-head coach Marcelo Veiga, who was desperately in need of a new defender. Up steps Felipe, a hungry 21-year old Centre-back who was determined to prove those who rejected him at Corinthians wrong, and provide for his family.

The Brazilian defender joined Bragantino on loan just two years after his debut for União in 2009.


Now making his full professional debut in Brazilian football, Felipe didn’t simply feature sporadically, but the latter – he started 32 out of 33 games for the club, with Viega making perhaps one of the best signings that Bragantino could’ve possibly entertained. The defender saw immediate success, with his major contribution pushing the club into a sixth-placed finish. While that may not seem like such success to those unfamiliar with Bragantino, it was their highest position since being promoted back to the Série B four years prior.

Just like before, Marcel Viega’s mission to sign Felipe was echoed by that of Corinthians, who, now, realised the sort of player that he had become – a warrior, a talent, and someone who could go even further than playing in South-America.

Felipe would leave Bragantino at the end of his loan, and sign for Corinthians permanently from União.


Signed by acclaimed head coach, Tite, perhaps one of the greatest compliments to a Brazilian player at the time, Felipe joined Corinthians in 2012.

It started in poor fashion though, playing only three games in his first season. After this, the next two seasons weren’t too different – times were tough, and once again Felipe found himself trying to prove that he was good enough for Timão (Corinthians). The club stuck with him, and it payed off.

Scoring in the clubs Libertadores campaign back in 2015, making his name known. And while they only reached the round of 16, Felipe’s contribution extended further, with his defensive acumen alongside his teammates willpower leading them on a 17-game unbeaten run, eventually winning the Campeonato Brazil. Statistically the best team defensively & going forward – only losing 5 in 38 games that season.

Felipe and Gil was the partnership, and some partnership it was. Shockwaves echoed across the nation of the talent that Felipe possessed, and soon transpired cross-Atlantic, reaching the ears of those at Portuguese giants, FC Porto.

FC Porto

Felipe now found himself in the continent of Europe, a similar climate, but a different country. Portugal. FC Porto had recently taken on Nuno Espírito Santo, a former goalkeeper at the club, to be their new manager. Just two weeks after becoming manager, Nuno sanctioned the purchase of Felipe – the upcoming 26-year old defender from Brazil.

In what would seem ‘typical’ fashion, Felipe had a rather tipsy-turvy start to life in Portugal. A 3-1 Victory over Nuno’s former side, Rio Ave, was unfortunately soon forgotten as Felipe scored an own goal on his Champions League debut against Roma. But this setback would once again be took in his stride, and Felipe would eventually solidify his position at the club, building a strong partnership with Iván Marcano.

Marcano was two years Felipe’s senior, at the time 28, and having been at the club already for two years. Nuno had a vision – with his tactics being very defence focused – to build a team around Felipe & Marcano. His vision and execution payed off, and Felipe scored in the away leg against Roma, and to make things better, putting in another top-class performance against Sporting Lisbon just a week later. Soon begun a crazy run of form, with 30-games unbeaten, but unfortunately coming short of the title to rivals Benfica. Nuno Espírito Santo would lose his job in the process.

Fans of opposing teams often shouted during games about his aggressive style of defending, but nobody could deny simply the talent that Porto had acquired out of South-coast of Brazil. It could be considered that Felipe was a late starter in football, at least European football, but he proved that that didn’t matter, and took it in his stride.

Porto would see silverware soon though, winning the 2017/18 title under new head coach – who to this day remains at the helm – Sérgio Conceição. Not only this, but Felipe would recieve personal acclaim, being named in the leagues ‘Team Of The Year’ list. A successful season to say the least.

Success would continue to follow the Brazilian though as former manager, Tite, names him in the Brazil squad for the second time for a series of friendlies against the USA & El Salvador. A special reunion for Felipe & Tite. Felipe & Militao (Now Real Madrid) partnered together, now also teammates at Porto by this point (19/20).

A fruitful start to life in Europe, but his time at Porto was now up. Time for a new, exciting, adventure. East he goes, to Madrid.

Atletico Madrid

In Madrid, a major evolution was underway – Atletico Madrid had been lead by legendary defender, and captain, Diego Godín, for almost a decade, but that time was now over. The club needed the “new Godín”, a passionate warrior to lead the line. Once again Felipe found himself receiving a somewhat “in-direct” compliment, with Diego Simeone choosing him as the successor to the Rosario Born Atletico legend, Godín. In 2019, Felipe joined Atletico Madrid from FC Porto for a fee of €20m (Now £17.1m).

Koke now held the captains armband for Atletico, but Felipe’s leadership was ever-present. Now the club-record signing, Simeone had to ensure Felipe was the right man to replace Godín, and arguably, he couldn’t have got it much more right for the money they paid. €20m is nothing for a player with UCL experience, and ‘years still on the clock’.

Quickly, Felipe cemented himself as a household name in LaLiga, carrying on in his aggressive yet precise defensive style, pulling forward his side along the way.

UCL nights, goals along the way, and backflips his trademark move, Felipe was loved by the Atletico fans, and perhaps by outsiders too. His style was, if you will, “old school” and that could not be ignored. He soon won the LaLiga title with Simeone in 2021.

However, during COVID, a dip in form matched with many red cards in the 21/22 season saw his career in Madrid slowly come to an end. Despite that, Felipe was special for Atletico, and was living the dream despite his setback at the young age of 14. Not one moment being taken for granted.

Felipe said his goodbyes, packed his bags, and in January of 2023, a new opportunity came about – joining Nottingham Forest, a side battling relegation, and facing tough times in the Premier League.

Nottingham Forest

Trentside was different to São Paulo, Porto & Madrid – a bit of an understatement to say that, at the time of signing, and indeed most of the time, a bit of a miserable climate. But all that mattered was the football, and Forest were yearning for a player like Felipe.

When he arrived, fans, for the most part, knew who he was, but questioned his age. The signing of a 33-year old defender from abroad seemed all too familiar on paper for Forest fans – but I think many didn’t fully understand the calibre of player they had just acquired. Champions League, Brazil National team, Top-level Brazilian, Portuguese & Spanish football, all for a measly sum of just over £2m.

His debut came in perhaps the most interesting way possible: Boly & McKenna both came off with hamstring injuries just 5 minutes into a fixture at Craven Cottage. Felipe made his debut alongside Joe Worrall, and despite a 2-0 loss, Forest fans got glimpses of what would soon be the ultimate football love affair. Some fans ate their words almost immediately.

The trademark ponytail, mythological stature & superb longevity for his age made Felipe a cult hero at the club. It didn’t go his way for much of his opening fixtures, Forest struggling to scrape points despite his incredible defending & leadership, but eventually, as it has throughout his career, his hard work would pay off.

A magical final run in saw Forest stay in the Premier League, and a win against Arsenal secured that. The sun beaming down on the City Ground as if it was in São Paulo, Porto, Madrid. After every setback is success with Felipe, and he proved that. Without him, who knows where Forest would be, but I’d take a good guess it wouldn’t be in the top division. Smiles, Brazilian flags, backflips & blushing mums – the City Ground was special that day, Felipe the Maestro that was so key in making that happen.

Little did fans know, but Felipe trained sometimes just once a week – knee issues caused him much discomfort, and he had to ‘grind it out’ to play for Forest. Super sacrifice for a club which he had only joined six months prior. Something which would, unfortunately, be a component in his gradual decline fitness wise.

After missing a major period through injury, Felipe returned to the Forest team around September time, and while selection wasn’t too often with the arrival of Murillo, etc, Felipe would soon get his chance at first-team action once again.

Nuno Espiríto Santo arrived, and soon after, Felipe made his way back into the first-team, reunited with another one of his former coaches – on this occasion, the man that gave him his chance in Europe. Perhaps one of the most influential coaches in Felipe’s beautiful career.

Times are tough at Forest at the moment, but Felipe, despite his ongoing injury issues, is powering through and showcasing his abilities even now, aged 34. But just this week, he announced that this season would be his last, ending a 15-year professional career. A career like Felipe’s really defines the meaning of the “beautiful game”. Starting from nothing, facing the setbacks, and eventually seeing success – a story for the ages.

 A parting message…

Often, writing a player bio is special. Being able to do so is always a privilege, but seldom does a bio opportunity come about for a player of Felipe’s stature & calibre. 

As a now-eighteen year old lad, in my lifetime supporting Forest, it’s rare to be able to compare a player to any Forest legend of the past. But Felipe, well, he’s different. The only man I’ve known to be compared to the greats, such as Des Walker & Co, to have witnessed a footballer that great on the pitch of the City Ground as a fan, given the standard of players I’ve seen throughout my time supporting the club is such an immense privilege.

Now with his career on the last page, and June his final month at the club, I just feel it’s so important to look back on his career – not just at this club – but throughout. He’s become part of the furniture at this club, in just over a year. And I, for one, will never forget the player that graced the turf by the banks of the Trent. Not for one minute will I take these last few months for granted.

Felipe is, and was special for this football club. Just like before, adversity is facing him, and this club, but now, one last time, it’s time to prove that success can prevail, and the club can sail the storm, surviving relegation fears. What a story that would be.

The last page is still being written, let’s make it special. Ay?

*Article provided by Jamie Martin (Head Nottingham Forest Correspondent).

*Main image @NFFC Felipe is to call time on his career at the end of the season.

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