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Honing the soccer gene

A detailed look at how current footballers are laying an emphasis on their kids to follow similar career paths and the reasons behind it.

Feature 03 Nov 2016, 18:26 IST
David Beckham with his kids
David Beckham has encouraged his kids to take up the sport

Most people find it adorable to see Cristiano Ronaldo train with his five-year-old and Enzo Zidane orchestrating his father’s very own moves is no less of a crowd pleaser. It’s interesting to notice a pattern that seems to have emerged among the stars, the focus they have laid on their kids to follow similar dreams has no doubt manifested as an emerging trend.

While passion resides in the hearts of those who profess it, it can also develop in those that are reaped into it.

We know that kids are very much affected by the environment that they are exposed to. It may pay off to learn that kids acquire their attachment and love for something by simply being in the same environment with their fathers. According to a study published by the British Columbia Christian Academy, ‘a child’s brain is heavily influenced by the emotional environment they are exposed to at an early age.’ The kids of famous footballers are seen to be already given the spotlight to see if a similar passion unfolds for them.

While for most kids getting access to a particular sport seems challenging in everyday life, for the young troopers of famous footballers, the very environment they live in harbors their professional interest thereby making the sport easily accessible.

While there may be players that go far enough to construct a football-shaped home like Lionel Messi, the majority of players try to ensure the bare minimum in their homes, which include facilities like a football pitch, a swimming pool, and a play area. Apart from physical accessibility, what we mean by ‘accessibility’ here is also the establishment of contacts among vital interest groups, connections are established by players with clubs, coaches, team members, and endorsement sectors that would allow for new openings and futuristic projections.

Football envisages a new identity

Leicester vs Copenhagen
Football is the most popular sport on the planet

Football has become the most popular sport today, in terms of fans. There are 3.5 billion fans in the regions of Europe, Africa, Asia, and America. The FIFA World Cup is the most watched sports competition in the world. It is a global sport, with more than 200 countries taking part in the World Cup qualifiers. In the sports world, it is the highest paying competition on the globe.

By this regard, football has manifested a new meaning and identity in the world we live in today. As football envisages a new identity and so do the professional footballers, they have also synthesized a new identity in the world today.

They are no longer seen as ‘mere sportsmen’, they have acquired ‘celebrity’ status and the media has portrayed them to be so. This, however, cannot be justified unless their profession supports the celebrity image which it does dutifully so and this is seen to have increased over the years.

There is a lot more associated with the sports names we have today; this manifestation is seen worldwide, we witness the world becoming more accepting towards idolizing professional footballers. This has somewhat revolutionized the livelihood of the sport bringing with it, a lot more than just what happens on the pitch.

It is understood why one would want their kids to follow through with a profession that grants them much more than a mere livelihood. Apart from football being a great sport that improves a person’s overall health and fitness, it brings with it some serious benefits:

#1 Huge income

Professional footballers make bags of cash

 A lot has changed in the financial earnings of a professional footballer. Over the years, professional footballers have become millionaires. Global football players earn a massive income from displaying their talent on the pitch. World renowned stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi earn $30-50 million a year.

Also read: Top 10 footballers with the highest net worth

According to a 2016 ranking on Forbes, Cristiano Ronaldo ranks as the 4th highest paid celebrity in the world and 1st among the World’s Highest Paid Athletes. It would be no surprise then that the steady athlete wants his son to embark on the same track.

#2 International recognition

Recognition plays a vital role in sustaining and regulating the football industry, the reason why some players are paid more than others and why some players are transferred and acquired by other clubs, all start from the very basic role of recognition.

International recognition also entails on the brand’s name and success in the world which is affiliated to making products and merchandise in support of the brand. In a world where the media plays such a vital role, professional footballers enjoy a unique status in the industry; international fame and recognition stimulate brand recognition which encourages business opportunities and contracts to come their way.

#3 Human asset

Although there is much controversy about using the term ‘asset’ for a footballer in terms of accounting for calculating the wealth of a country, in the sports industry, a world renowned footballer is very much an asset for his team, his coach, his club, his investors, his country and so on. This is a major advantage for him as it will allow him to diversify into various other businesses which would generate him more wealth and profit.

If this isn’t enough to sustain an individual then we aren’t sure what will but the fathers of these kids are well aware of the bounty gains of this steaming profession which is exactly why we find an encouragement on their part to motivate their own kids.

It’s natural, though. If they have obtained success doing what feeds their spirit, then there’s no reason why their kids shouldn’t try it. It is the reason why we see David Beckham’s oldest kid – Brooklyn training in a number of clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United, and Fulham, and why Zinedine Zidane just got all of his sons signed to the Real Madrid youth academy.

Also read: Middlesbrough Transfer Rumour: Enzo Zidane may soon be heading to the EPL

Almost every player out there is encouraging his kids to take on the ‘shoe-bid.’

But fame or no fame, we find that the father-son connection has been successful in curbing talent. Look at Neymar, one of the world’s leading footballers. The 24-year-old Brazilian professional footballer was believed to have followed his father’s footsteps, who was also a professional football player. Neymar who now plays for Barcelona FC made his mark in the year 2014-2015, scoring 39 goals.

Neymar, Ronaldinho
Neymar and Ronaldinho have gone on to become greats of the game

Ronaldinho, another celebrated football player and current ambassador for Barcelona FC, was once known to be one of the best players of his generation. He was named ‘World Player of the Year’ by FIFA in two consecutive years, in 2004 and 2005. His father, Joao Moreira was a shipment and footballer who played for a local club during his time. Ronaldinho, in particular, idolizes his father and has commented on how his father has contributed to his career success.

The passion passes on as it transfers from one generation to another as if it were a gift from the Gods. Today, a world-class professional football player is considered to be a highly celebrated global figure with a rewarding profession. The world celebrates the existence of footballers on and off the pitch for their extraordinary demonstrations of talent.

With the way the sport has reoriented itself over the years, it is perhaps better that young talent is honed and shaped by those that are themselves solely committed to the sport.

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