Success stories do not come on a platter. While some struggle so hard to become great, others have to give up along the line. It takes resilience, passion for what you are chasing after and optimism to succeed at whatever you do.
For most footballers, their success in and off the pitch didn’t come about because they are good at kicking a ball or because they are most passionate about the round-leather game. At different points in their lives, they had to weather some storms just to become established in the football industry. In this article, we take you through a summary of the challenges that shaped most of the popular football stars you hear their names today. Here is a short information about them, further you will find a more detailed info:
|Top 5 Popular Football Stars||Positions They Played|
|Angel Di Maria||Midfielder|
Angel Di Maria
The story of Angel Di Maria is one of the most inspiring. Indeed, poverty can be a motivating factor for most people, especially for footballers. Reports have it that Angel Di Maria came from one of the most poor families in Argentina. At the time, he had dreams to play football but due to financial restraints, his ambition couldn’t be actualized on time.
With no shoes to play football with and having a family that doesn’t feed well, he had no other choice than to join his father in working in a quarry. He, his father, and his two sisters worked in a coal yard. He was aged at the time and by the time he was 15, he had been drafted to help in delivering coal to the customers.
Despite this hard work and the depression that comes with it, Angel Di Maria perspired to the point that he became “hyperactive.” Then, when an offer came to him to join a local football team, he only asked to be rewarded with 35 footballs so he could practice the more. Angel Di Maria would later become the most expensive footballer at the time (2014) when he got his first signing. He had gone on to play for popular football clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain and his country, Argentina.
Victor Moses’ is indeed a “victor.” His sojourn into football could best be described as a “quest for survival,” considering that his parents were killed in a religious clash in Nigeria. To avoid the same fate from befalling him, his family members raised funds to send him out of the country.
Victor would later be adopted by foster parents who took care of him and enrolled him in a school where he learnt the English language. It was from London that he started his sojourn into the football world.
Today, Victor Moses has played for Nigeria and represented the country in the African Cup of Nations. He has also played in some top football leagues, including the Champions League, Premier League and Europa League.
Gabriel started charting his course in the world of football in 2014 and just 8 years later, he is one of the top stars in the round-leather game. In 2014, he painted the streets of Brazil, where the World Cup was hosted. He was doing this out of passion for the game and for the fact that his country was the host.
At the time, he was aged 17. During the next FIFA World Cup held in Russia in 2018, Gabriel was drafted into the Brazilian team where he did amazingly well. He is currently playing for Manchester City.
The story of Sadio Mane is like that of most African footballers, coming from a place of pain and poverty. The Senegalese football champ came from a poor home and due to lack of finance, his education wasn’t funded to the fullest.
However, he spent quality time (when he is not in school) playing football with other kids in his street. Sadio was recruited by a French scout who took him to France. His talent paid off as he started playing for Metz before moving over to Southampton before playing for Liverpool.
How the life of a young boy with little means of survival can turn around to become one of the highest-paid footballers could be something out of the movies. But this is no movie – it is the real-life story of Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, popularly known as Neymar or Neymar Jr.
Story has it that he lived in a small-sized bedroom with his family, as that is all that they could afford to pay for at the time. His father, Neymar Snr. often called his children together to enquire about their dreams and aspirations. Neymar was quick to beat his poor background by taking to the streets to do what he knows how to do best – playing football.
Neymar signed his first football contract at the age of 12 and by the age of 17, he scored his first goal in a 2009 match against Oeste.
Top football clubs like Barcelona were taking notice and it wouldn’t be long before Neymar became one of the highly sought-after footballers in the world. That was hoe the Brazilian moved from the trenches to riches.
The success that comes with being a successful footballer is a venture that not all footballers can handle. At least, that is the case with Joey Barton. He started his career as and has played for top clubs like.
However, Joey had one challenge and that is gambling. Reports have it that he had been suspended from playing football for six months. The FA had handed him that suspension as punishment for his excessive gambling activities.
Overtime, Joey Barton has been reported to be a serial punter, with over 1,000 bets placed by him during his career. He lost a lot of money as well and has since been making conscious efforts to overcome gambling.
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The list of the best footballers with success stories wouldn’t be complete if we don’t add the “GOATed” Cristiano Ronaldo. Born Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, he is the son of a gardener-father Joes Aveiro and a cook-mother, Dolores Aveiro. From suffering near-abortion by his mother, living in impoverishment and losing his father to death caused by drug addiction, Cristiano Ronaldo saw it all.
However, he didn’t let his background or the things he passed through to get the better part of him. Today, he is not only sought-after, but has made tremendous contributions to the world of football; winning trophies for the various teams he played for, captaining his country (Portugal) to many World Cups and introducing new concepts to football.
Luka Modric is a Croatian footballer who started playing during the peak of the independence-triggered war in Croatia. Despite those circumstances and the fact that his grandfather, whom he had gone to live with was executed by the rebels, he continued to press on.
He led the Croatian national team to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Luka currently plays for Real Madrid.
Lionel Messi is an Argentine player, who also doubles as the captain of the Argentine national team. He currently plays for Paris Saint-German, but that wasn’t where he began his career.
Lionel had a severe growth disorder that made him to have a stunted growth. But that appears to be a blessing in disguise because at the young age when he started playing, he could dribble past many players and score a goal.
However, only a few football clubs were willing to take a chance of him because of that. His father would persuade Barcelona to fund his treatment before he would play for them, professionally. They agreed to the terms and that was how Lionel Messi came to play for FC Barcelona at a young age.
After many years of playing for the club, Messi made a decision to quit and is now playing for Paris Saint-Germain.
Carlos is a Colombian striker who previously worked as a bus assistant in his early 20s. He would later become a fisherman before he made his debut into the football world by signing up for it. Currently he is a player of Spanish team Granada. He is known for his pace, aggressiveness and determination as a striker.
Football, to some players, is borne out of passion while for some others, it is borne out of fun. For most players, getting started as footballers wasn’t easy. They had many reasons to give up the pursuit and do something else, but somehow, they didn’t relent. Today, they are bigwigs in the football industry and are continually making headlines for good reasons.