On the pavement outside a restaurant in Mayfair, a small but instantly recognisable Premier League footballer stops for socially distanced photographs with passers-by. Willian smiles a big, familiar smile. ‘I love London,’ he says. He means it, too.
The Brazilian is 32 now and has been in England for more than seven years. His twin daughters have grown up here and have London accents. ‘It’s amazing they talk like that,’ he adds.
Recently he took and passed the UK Citizenship test. It took him three attempts, despite weeks of revision. But now he has what he has wanted for a while, a British passport. ‘
That passport is a key you couldn’t buy,’ he says. ‘In the future when I retire I will have the chance to live in London and I really want that.