This weekend, Manchester United take on Manchester City for the first time in WSL history at Old Trafford. And as tens of thousands of fans flock to the Theatre of Dreams to watch their teams go head-to-head, one player in particular will be focused on dropping a performance of a lifetime: Geyse da Silva Ferreira.
The Brazilian striker joined the Red Devils earlier this year from Barcelona, where she won the Primera División, Supercopa de España and UEFA Women’s Champions League in just one season. Having represented As Canarinhas since 2017, Geyse has honed her skills alongside two of football’s most iconic players in Marta and Formiga. And at this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, she put those skills to the test and impressed fans with her tricky feet and blistering runs up top. Come Sunday, fans can expect Geyse to bring a serious dose of joga bonito to Old Trafford as she dances her way around the pitch in the hope of not only winning points, but the city’s bragging rights, too.
VERSUS linked up with the samba loving five-star skiller ahead of this weekend’s historic fixture to talk about how she manages the pressure associated with a game like the Manchester derby, how she's settling into life at United and why so many Brazilian ballers have represented the badge over the years.
Photography by Lily Brown for VERSUS.
“It’s really important for the growth of women’s football to have fans attend games at stadiums like Old Trafford.”
VERSUS: How are you feeling about the derby game on Sunday?
Geyse: I’ve got high expectations – I think we can get a win. I’m delighted to be playing at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, as it’s known. We’ll see what will happen come match day…
Are you looking forward to understanding why fans call Old Trafford, ‘The Theatre of Dreams’ this weekend?
I really am! Playing at Old Trafford will be a dream come true for me. It’ll be my first time playing there and I hope there’ll be lots of fans cheering us on. It’s really important for the growth of women’s football to have fans attend games at stadiums like Old Trafford – it’s our home, and the fans know that. I’m sure I’ll realise very quickly why this place is so special as soon as I step on the pitch.
You’re a player that performs very well under pressure and on big stages. What is it about those moments that excites you and enables you to perform so well?
I thrive under pressure! But in order to relieve some of it, I always give my mum a call before every game. I chat briefly with her on the phone beforehand, and I usually have some fun with my nephew too – who’s really into his football at the moment; he’s just one and half years old, I really miss him. Speaking with the two of them before big games helps to alleviate some of the pressure I might feel before kick-off – I can then just focus on my football, doing my job and not so much the ‘moment’.
“I’ll definitely throw some samba moves if I get on the score sheet.”
If you score during the derby do you already have a celebration in mind?
First and foremost, if I score on Sunday I’ll thank God for driving me on in my work and for helping my team to succeed. And if I get a goal here in front of our cheering fans, I’ll thank God for the opportunity he put before me. I’ll definitely throw some samba moves if I get on the score sheet, though. As a Brazilian I love samba and incorporating it into my celebrations – I’ve got various moves of this kind! I love celebrating goals by dancing, so watch this space.
How do you hype yourself up for a big game like this one? Do you have a pre-match playlist, if so, which artist is on it?
I’ve got a playlist of my favourite songs ready to listen to before matches, definitely. Two of them are Racionais MC’s ‘A Vida É Desafio’ and Hungaria Hip Hop’s ‘Um Pedido’. These songs really fire me up, as does chatting to my mum as mentioned and having a laugh with my baby nephew. These things are what help to motivate me before games.
Growing up and playing football in Brazil, what did you know about Manchester United?
To be honest, as I’m not from a wealthy background, we didn’t have a television at home when I was growing up. Consequently, I didn’t know anything about the club! But as time went by and my football developed whilst playing with friends, I found out more about Manchester United.
My best friend Tulio is a big fan of the club and when I told him that I’d got an offer to come here and play, he was like: “Take it! They’re my team!” I was so happy to hear this from a childhood friend. In being here I’m not just making my dream come true, I’m making both his dream and my family’s come true as well.
“In being here I’m not just making my dream come true, I’m making my family’s come true as well.”
Several Brazilian stars have joined United over the years – Anderson, Rafael de Silva, Fred. What is it that attracts Brazilian players to the club?
I think it’s their ambition to play for a big club and win things. I also think it’s about helping to open doors to other Brazilians so they too can play in a big English team, like Manchester United.
Paving the way for other Brazilians who dream of becoming huge names in the future, I think that’s what it’s all about – blazing the trail for youngsters aspiring to achieve their dreams. You have to see it to believe it, and those players helped to inspire a generation of footballers in Brazil.
What’s it been like playing for and living in Manchester these last few months or so?
I’m getting used to everything. It’s all new to me – the league, the weather. I’m from the seaside, a place where it’s always hot and sunny…all year round! It’s basically non-stop summer where I’m from, so I’m having to adapt to the conditions here but I’m loving life at Manchester United, despite how cold it is! I’m gradually getting used to it.
Get tickets to the WSL Manchester derby at Old Trafford Sunday, November 19 here.