Success is not easily attained most of the times. Half of the successful people have gone through hell of challenges that at one time, they almost gave up in life. This article will unfold the top footballers who grew up in poor families and made it in life through football.
It doesn't matter where you come from but what is in you, what you want to achieve and the lifestyle you want to live. There are many footballers who came from poor backgrounds but others were poorest.
Here are the top footballers who rose from rags to riches:
Sadio Mané holds the record of scoring the fastest hat-trick in a top flight league match when be was in Southampton. He was born on 10th April 1992 in Bambali village, Seidhou in Senegal. Mané grew up just like other normal boys in the villages but had a vision of becoming a footballer someday.
His family could not cater for his education and he dropped out of school. Having nothing else to do, Sadio Mané joined other village boys in playing football. He used to train with torn shorts and boots. When he was 15, luck knocked on his door and a French scout spotted him. Mané signed for Metz and life was never the same again.
Due to his early life encounter, Mané always remembers the poor and donates some funds to help them cater for their needs. He even built schools, hospitals and even a mosque. He once said during an interview, "Why would I want ten Ferraris, 20 diamond watches and two jet planes? What would that do for the world?
I starved, I worked in the fields, I played barefoot, and I didn't go to school. Now I can help people. I prefer to build schools and give poor people food or clothing." Mané earns €90, 000 ($120,000) a week and his estimated earnings is about $24 million.
Luka Modrić was born 9th September 1985 in Zadar, Croatia. Luka was a talented in football as a kid. He grew up during the final times of Croatian war of independence and many people lost their lives.
When he was 5 years, the future Ballon D'Or winner and World Cup finalist worked as a goat shepherd. His grandfather was murdered by the Serbian rebels and their home was burnt to ashes. This forced his family to move to another area.
Luka signed a ten-year contracr deal with Dinamo Zagreb, a Croatian club. After proving he's worthy to play the game, he was scouted by Real Madrid where his career thrived. He won the Ballon D'Or and became a World Cup finalist in 2018. Arguably, he is one of the best midfielders in the world.
His net income is $75 million.
Dani Alvez da Silva was born on 6th May 1985 in Juazeiro, a city in the Brazilian state of Bahia. Alvez grew up in the countryside and spent long hours working in the farm. "Daniel would have gone to work in the field carrying a machete on his shoulders"
"A lot of people here work the land. When people think of the North-East, they just think of dry land and poverty." Says Antonio Damiao Oliveira da Silva, who lives nearby. He played for Barcelona, PSG, Juventus and currently, he's playing for Sao Paulo in Brazil.
His humbleness was portrayed when of ate a banana thrown by a rival fan as a racist gesture.
Dani Alvez has a net income of 60 million Dollars.
Frank Henry Ribery was born on 7th April 1983 in Boulogne-sur-Mer in France. He came from a low class family and neighborhood that was poverty-stricken.
When he was a two years toddler, Frank was exposed to the windshield of a car in an accident. He spent days in the hospital until he recovered. Ribery worked as a labourer in construction sites as he fought to make the ends meet. The French Winger once said that football changed him and his early life made him to be a fighter!
Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz was born on 24th January 1987 in Salto, Uruguay. He was the middle child of seven siblings. His parents separated when he was nine years old thus he missed parental love from both parents.
Luis Suarez grew up playing football without shoes in Salto while his father, who was a porter, left his family behind to look for a better job.
"They were tough times. My parents had split up and there was all the problem of us being a family that never had the possibility of choosing anything. I was never able to tell my mother or father, 'I want these trainers', and have them buy me those trainers. It was the pure reality," Suarez said in an interview.
Suarez net income is approximately 6million Euros.
Neymar da Silva Santos Junior was born on 5th February 1992 in Mogi das Cruzes, 60 kilometres North of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
In his childhood days, he survived living in a house without electricity. His family could not raise the electricity bills due to their small income to cater for food and house rent. This did not stop Neymar Jr from becoming one of the best footballers in the world currently. He always played football indoors with older boys at home and this created confidence with the ball.
He was signed by Santos and made his first professional debut when he was 17 years. At that time, he attracted the attention of Real Madrid but he signed for Barcelona.
His total income is estimated to be $185 million.
Zlatan Ibrahimović was born on 3rd October 1981 in Rosengaard, Malmö District, Sweeden. Zlatan's parents splited when he was only two years old and this made him to miss parental love from both parents. Always, Zlatan was left to steal what he wants. Also, he used to play street football with his colleagues in Rosengaard.
Ibrahimović was a crook and even his school hired a special teacher for him. One afternoon, his teacher came to watch him playing football. Zlatan drove a long range rocket and hit his mistress on her head. A few days later, she quit teaching Ibrahimović.
I wanted to stand up to the whole world and show everybody who’d doubted me who I really was,” Zlatan wrote in his autobiography “I Am Zlatan.”
“And I couldn’t imagine anyone who’d be able to stop me.”
Zlatan's net income is approximated to be $90 million.
Cristiano dos Santos Ronaldo Aveiro was born on 5th February 1985 in Madeira, Portugal. His parents, Maria Dolores, a local cook and Jose Dinis who was a gardener.
During his early days, Ronaldo shared a room with his mother and two sisters. He was expelled from school for throwing a chair to a teacher who disrespected him. Life would never be the same again, Ronaldo wanted to work and help his family but his mother persuaded him to follow his dream.
His father worked as a kit man on part-time basis at Club de Football Andorinha. He organized for Ronaldo to train with the club. He worked very hard and this made Sporting Lisbon to trace his performance. Man United won his sign in 2003 and this changed his entire life forever.
Cristiano's net income is approximated to be $460 million.
Alexis Alejandro Sánchez Sánchez was born on 19th December 1988 in Tocopilla, Chile. His family could not afford to buy him training boots to nurture his talent. Mostly, he played football bare-footed.
His mother was a cleaner employed by Alexis' school. “When she was cleaning in the school I hid because I didn’t like to see her there,” Alexis has said in an interview.
Alexis helped his family to set dish on the table by washing cars and doing acrobats in the streets. Currently, Alexis' net income is around $50 million.
ANGEL DI MARIA
Angel Fabian Di Maria was born on 14th February 1988. Just like other footballers from poor background, Di Maria played football without boots.
Di Maria had to work in a coal yard to help his family to have something to eat. His family struggled financially to get money to buy food. Di Maria and his family used to live in a house which was a groceries store but he had a vision of becoming a professional footballer one day!
“It’s something I will always keep inside me. For me to play football and have boots meant my two sisters went withou. Me and my sisters worked in the coal yard as well. I started aged 10 and by the time I was 15, I was helping with deliveries. It was hard work, ” Di Maria said in an interview.
Di Maria has a net income of around 22 million dollars.
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