Today when we see the rich, celebrated and tempting lifestyle of the footballers we might get attracted to the same. But growing up to be a skilled professional footballer and get recognition for the same is harder than it seems. In the days of players like Pele and Maradona, the sport was not considered to be a profession. Rather it was a mere part of the entertainment. Whether it’s the Brazilian street football or the German specialists, there’s a rag to riches story for many great footballers who have adorned the international football fraternity. Playing fantasy football and winning real cash was not there even a few years back. Thus, the struggle behind the success is real and sometimes painful.
Here’s a list of the top 5 from among many who have struggled their way through adversities just for the sake of passion that they had for football. It’s their struggle and never give up attitude that gifted the world with so many talented international players and made football the most popular game of the world.
Unquestionably till date considered to be the best player of football, no soccer fan or online fantasy football fan can do without this man. But Pele was not a man born with a sliver spoon. However, you might say that soccer was in his blood as his father was an ex-soccer player. However, the father’s sudden retirement from the game due to leg fracture dipped the family into deep poverty. However, with mere talent, the young boy caught the eyes of selectors at the tender age of 17 years. it was a treat to watch Pele on the field. Fortunes shone upon him and till date, he is considered to be the greatest of all.
Coming from a shanty town in Argentina, he had seven siblings and all of them were forced to stay within one single room. No formal education, no formal training, no connection to football – this god gifted man had an unbeatable passion for street football. This took him to the heights of fame, fortune and accolades. Such was his skills that he was taken by Barcelona for a record amount of £5m and by Napoli for £6.9m. One day he had struggled for a little money, and then he was the king of football!
The “invincible” player of Arsenal was originally born in Cameroon under was raised under continuous political pressures of the country. However, his family moved to Spain very soon and his journey as a footballer started from there. As bad as his birth country may seem, this humble player didn’t forget his roots and thus chose to represent Cameroon instead of Spain during the Sydney Olympics. And avid boxer unprofessionally, today when he looks back, his struggles seem like a dream for him.
Born in 1976 in Rio De Janeiro to a very poor family, Ronaldo, unlike his namesake Cristiano Ronaldo, was not served fortune, fame and luck in a sliver platter! When he failed to raise the sufficient bus fare for the Flamengo football trial, he thought that his career is over even before it started. However, in 1993 after joining Cruzeiro, his life changed. Later coined as the “player of the decade”, Ronaldo not only made his family proud but also proved that if there’s a will, there’s away! Online fantasy football leagues adore such players who have a passion for the game. Ronaldo played for clubs like Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan. With an amazing goal of 280 out of 384 games, he ended his marvellous career in 2011.
Rivaldo is yet another Brazilian legend who also learnt football from the streets of Brazil. Due to malnourishment in the initial days, he lost a lot of weight and also some of his teeth. However, he never gave up on his passion for football. At a very young age of 16 years only, he started his career as a footballer. Then he started playing for famous clubs like Barcelona and was later given the Ballon d’Or and FIFA awards.
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