Who is Mahatma Gandhi? Meet the Brazilian midfielder with the famous namesake

The South American nation of Brazil remains the largest reservoir of talent, giving rise to numerous football stars on the global stage. In the land of samba, every child appears to possess innate and natural footballing abilities, especially since the sport is deeply integrated into its roots and culture.

Brazil has produced countless world-class players. Some, with standout nicknames such as legendary Pele, Zico, Kaka, Hulk, and Oscar, are widely recognized, setting them apart not just for their skills but also for the distinct names they carry. Interestingly, there’s even a player in Brazil named  Mahatma Gandhi in South America. 

Who is Mahatma Gandhi?

Mahatma Gandhi Heber Pio Mattos Pires is a Brazilian player who goes by the name Gandhi, named after the famous Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi, an Indian politician, lawyer, activist, and writer, became the leader of the nationalist movement against British rule in India by preaching non-violence. He is also regarded as the “father of the nation” in India.

Via-DNA India

Heber Pio Mattos Pires first came into the limelight a few years ago at the age of 23 while playing for Atlético Clube Goianiense, a club competing in the Brazilian top division Serie A. However, the club has since been demoted to the second division. 

The Brazilian Mahatma Gandhi is currently representing his local side, Goiânia EC, where he primarily plays as a midfielder but often takes on the role of a full-back as well. Born in 1992 in Goiânia, in the center of Brazil, the player has mostly pursued his club career in Brazilian leagues.

Via-DNA India

However, the 31-year-old has never received a national team call-up to represent Brazil with only 7 first-division appearances in Brazilian leagues. His name, inspired by the global ambassador of peace and non-violence Gandhi, has certainly brought attention to his career. 

Brazilian players with hilarious names including famous namesakes

Brazil, an undisputed five-time World Cup winner owes much of its success to legendary names produced over the years—global icons such as Pele, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, and Cafu, all having lifted the prestigious world championship. Alongside their sheer dominance in the sport, Brazilians are also famous for their nicknames. As a former Portuguese colony, people typically tend to have long names of up to six words.


Therefore, we have seen players adopting short nicknames for easy recognition by fans. Some famous examples include Pele, whose real name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Ronaldinho, born Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, and Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite renowned as Kaka. Givanildo Vieira de Sousa famously adopted ‘Hulk’ as his nickname. Other notable players with single names include Neymar, Alison, and Ederson, setting them apart from others who commonly have longer names.

Do you think Brazil have what it takes to be a strong contender for the 2026 World Cup? Tell us what you think in the comments section.


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