Everyone likes a rags-to-riches story. How the protagonist struggles against hard times and toils to make his dreams come true is an age old formula employed in innumerable movies. This story takes on greater meaning when we put a footballer in the mix and combine his efforts to beat the odds to reach the grandest of stages. The first installment of Goal! aside, quite a number of footballers like Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo have actually lived the dream. But how many footballers were born with a silver spoon and never had to skip a meal to buy a pair of boots? Here’s three of the same.
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos, or Kaká, was born in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, to what is described as a reasonably wealthy family. His father, Bosco Izecson Pereira Leite, was a civil engineer and his mother, Simone dos Santos, was a school teacher. Growing up, he didn’t face a choice between pursuing his education and football, as his secure financial background allowed him to engage in both. The fact that he signed his first contract at the age of eight for the Sao Paolo youth squad didn’t hurt his father’s purse anyway.
The angry young man of Italy had a turbulent beginning. Born to Ghanaian parents, his health problems, three siblings and a low income family lead to him being put up for foster care. He was taken in by the wealthy Italian Balotelli family at the age of three, whose name he then took on.The affluent family provided the young Mario with all that he needed, but at the cost of living away from his biological family. Mario Balotelli has become embroiled in a bitter feud between his biological and his foster family. This story isn’t as full of roses as the rest, but the plush upbringing puts him on this list.
Frank Lampard Jr.
Born to Frank Lampard Senior, the Chelsea midfielder was already a part of a footballing dynasty. His father was a full back at West ham United and was comfortably off. Even his uncle, Harry Redknapp, is a former West Ham player. He completed his schooling at Brentwood School in Essex, which is considered a well-heeled school to say the least.
Let’s not make the mistake of assuming that the aforementioned players had it easy given the financial status of their families. Robin Van Persie is an excellent example as his parents are well known sculpting artists and wanted him to follow in their footsteps. Van Persie chose football and this decision would have certainly met with resistance. Therefore, at the risk of sounding preachy, let us understand that all the footballers we see today have put in effort at some stage or the other and their abilities define them, rather than just a bank statement.