Influencer Luva juggles the ups and downs of internet stardom
The self-proclaimed ‘best football influencer in the world’, Brazilian internet sensation Luva de Pedreiro, is rich and famous at 20 – but needs a break from his unexpected stardom, he says.
Known for posting videos of his juggling skills, ecstatic goal celebrations and other football antics – so theatrically over the top they’ve won him fans of superstars including Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Ronaldinho – Luva, whose real name is Iran Ferreira, grew up in the impoverished rural community of Quijingue, in the northeast of Bahia state.
With nothing but an unconditional love of football, an oversized personality and a cellphone, he became an overnight sensation in Brazil and beyond, amassing over 40 million total followers on Instagram. TikTok and YouTube.
But in a story that also speaks to the sometimes brutal world of social media, weeks after signing what he called “the biggest contract of my career” with Adidas, Luva announced last month that he had finished posting videos online, saying he wanted to “live my normal life”.
“I will complete the work I was hired to do with the brands I signed with, but after that I won’t be making any more videos,” he said, adding that he deleted dozens of posts on Instagram.
When rumors swirled that the move was a marketing ploy or the result of a falling out with his new manager, Brazilian futsal legend Falcao, Luva went back in line to argue for a reprieve from the spotlight. “I can’t have a single minute of peace,” he said in an Instagram Story.