The prestige of becoming the face of one of the world’s most popular games, underlines remarkable influence and global popularity.
Cracking multi-million pound contract is sort of a daily game to these popular footballers! But what we don’t know is the conflicts & hardships they had been through in their lives to attain such great capacity to own supercars & luxury Banglows!
Poverty can be a powerful motivator, even if it is one undoubtedly tragic in nature. Check out the history of any successful person you’ll found one thing common & that is the desire to grow big.
So, come along as we count down some of the best active footballers from around the globe who grew up poor, some still at the top of their game, while others have entered the twilight of their careers.
#1. Lionel Messi
Born in Rosario, Argentina on 24 June 1987, Messi spent his childhood as a physically underdeveloped footballing phenomenon. Impressing so much at Newell’s Old Boys earned him a move to Barcelona’s La Masia at the age of 11 itself.
So how Messi who lacked the pace and power currently possesses still have made it at an elite level in world football.
Well, instead of being the lethal penetrative dribbler, Messi make use of his vision and passing ability to fit into a deeper playmaker role.
It was at Barcelona where Messi’s career truly took off and flourished. He became the youngest footballer ever to play and score in La Liga for Barcelona.
And in a season of La Liga, Messi’s hattrick in Barcelona’s 3-3 draw with Real Madrid that forced Diego Maradona to declare that “I have seen the footballer who will inherit my place in Argentinian football and his name is Messi. Messi is a genius.”.
By the time he grew 21-year-old Messi ditched his number 19 shirt for the coveted number 10 (made available by the departing Ronaldinho). He had already racked up 42 goals, two La Liga titles, two Supercopas, and a Champions League title in 110 matches.
This is how Messi popularly known as “the machine of 87” made it to the top!
#2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born on 5th February 1985 in Santo António, Funchal in Madeira, Portugal. He was youngest of his family, his mother Maria Dolores dos Santos Averio was a cook and his father José Dinis Aveiro was a gardener.
He got his name coined Ronaldo because his father was a great fan of actor Ronald Regan then US president.
Starteing his football career at the age of 8 for team Andorinha was his first ever break. Then he spent two years with local club Nacional. After which the Sporting CP signed him for a fee of £1,500 when he was a the age 12.
At the age of 14, Ronaldo believed that he has the potential to become a professional footballer. So, he discontinued his education to focus his entirely on improving his game.
During those days, his family lived in a financial crisis which never let Ronaldo down. He continued his football training day and night.
During this time, ronaldo was suggested to Liverpool and Barcelona. In 2002, he met Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who was interested in signing up but things could not materialize.
The turning point of his career came when Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson spotted Ronaldo skills. Manchester players asked Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him after his exceptional performance against them.
Manchester United signed Ronaldo for a transfer fees of £12.24 million. It was the most expensive transfer fees for a teenager in English football history.
Later, Sir Alex Ferguson offered Ronaldo number 7 shirt which was previously worn by United great George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham.
The after story you know how the goal machine Ronaldo rule the world with his football skills & bicycle kicks!
#3. Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal’s forward Alexis Sanchez grew up in poverty-stricken rural Chile in a mining town called Tocopilla. It literally means Devil’s Corner, and he used to perform on the street for money at the age of six.
Yet now the 25-year-old may be able to call himself a £ 30million Premier League footballer but he has not always led such a gilded life.
Alexis brother says, he had nothing when growing up. He had to fight for everything he has. We were the poorest of the poor so Alexis had to earn money any way he could from a very young age.
He was a good gymnast, hurling himself all over the place.‘The neighbours would give him a few coins for entertaining them. Sometimes he was so hungry he would knock on neighbour’s doors and ask for bread.
His football carrier started when he decided to take daily release from the hardships of poverty to play football barefoot on mud-covered streets – thankfully something he excelled at.
He was first spotted by Club Arauco youth team coach Alberto Toledo who brought him to the club even though he could not pay the fees.
When he was young Sanchez played football on dirty streets. And no w he is counted among some of the best footballers in the world!
Neymar, in full Neymar da Silva Santos, Jr. was born on February 5, 1992 in Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil. He is one of the most prolific scorers in his country’s storied football history.
Neymar began playing football as a boy in São Vicente, under the guidance of his father. He was a former professional footballer who remained a close adviser and mentor throughout his son’s career.
At age 14 he had a successful trial with Spain’s Real Madrid, and Santos had to increase its spending to retain him due to the fact that he was supremely confident on the field, with excellent body control, quick reflexes, and explosive speed.
While playing with Santos, he averaged a goal every other match and helped the team win the Libertadores Cup (the most prestigious South American club competition) in 2011.
In June 2013 Neymar signed a five-year contract with FC Barcelona after a trade with Santos in exchange for €57 million (about $76 million). One of the most expensive soccer transfers in history! Two years later he helped Barcelona capture the “treble” of a La Liga championship, a Copa del Rey title, and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League title.
Also in August 2017 he engineered a departure to the French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for a then record €222 million ($263 million) transfer fee.
In addition to being the new face of PSG, Neymar also became the highest-paid player in the world, with a €45 million ($53 million) annual salary.
#5. David Beckham
People now know him more of a fashion statement & style icon. But David Beckham is one of Britain’s most iconic athletes whose name is also an elite global advertising brand. He was captain of the English national team from 2000 to 2009, scored in three different FIFA World Cups.
David Robert Joseph Beckham was born on May 2, 1975, in Leytonstone, East London, England, to Sandra Georgina (West), a hairdresser, and David Edward Alan “Ted” Beckham, a kitchen fitter.
He regularly played football in Ridgeway Park, Chingford, as a child, and attended Chase Lane Primary School and Chingford County High School.
David parents love football. Their love of Manchester United, has made Beckham choose football as his passion. He attended one of Bobby Charlton’s football schools in Manchester and won the chance to take part in a training session with Barcelona, as part of a talent competition.
On 8 July 1991, he was signed for Manchester United as a trainee. He performed quite well there & his impact led to his first-team debut on 23 September 1992. He was attended as a substitute for Andrei Kanchelskis in a League Cup match against Brighton & Hove Albion. Shortly afterwards, Beckham signed as a professional on 23 January 1993.
Beckham made his first appearance for the England national team on 1 September 1996, in a World Cup qualifying match against Moldova.
Beckham in total made 16 appearances out of a possible 20 for England under Capello until his ruptured Achilles tendon of March 2010 ruled him out of selection for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. His last game for England before injury had been on 14 October 2009. He was playing as a substitute in England’s last World Cup qualifying game, which ended England 3 – 0 Belarus.
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