Becoming a pro-footballer requires you to be the best out of millions competing for the same opportunity, but becoming a football superstar makes you the best of the best. Did you you know that some of the greatest of all time football players, both past and present, credit their skills and early playing careers to street football? Here are some of those legends to inspire you:
Didier Drogba: Hailing from Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Didier Drogba is one of Africa’s most celebrated footballers who got his start playing street football. Drogba began playing football at a young age in his local neighborhood in Abidjan before moving to France at the age of five, where he continued his passion for the sport. His early experiences shaped his style of play and resilience.
Diego Maradona: The late Argentine legend, often considered one of the greatest football players in history, grew up playing street football in the Villa Fiorito neighborhood of Buenos Aires.
Steven Gerrard: Steven Gerrard is another world-renowned footballer who hails from the UK, specifically from Whiston, Merseyside in England. Like many footballers, he honed his skills playing street football in his local area from a young age. He eventually joined Liverpool FC’s youth team and ascended to become one of the club’s most iconic players and captain. Gerrard also had a notable career with the England national team, representing the country in multiple European Championships and World Cups. His early experiences in street football helped shape his resilience, tenacity, and world-class talent.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Ronaldo spent his early years playing street football in Madeira, Portugal, before moving on to professional clubs.
Zinedine Zidane: The French legend Zinedine Zidane spent his formative years playing street football in La Castellane, a tough neighborhood in Marseille.
Pelé: Often referred to as the greatest footballer of all time, Pelé honed his skills playing street football in Brazil before his professional career.
Francesco Totti: Born in Rome, Totti honed his skills on the streets and in the alleys of the Italian capital, developing the flair and creativity that would become the hallmark of his playing style. He spent his entire professional career with AS Roma, where he became a club legend and one of the most iconic Italian footballers of all time. He was renowned for his vision, technique, and scoring ability, qualities that he often attributed to his roots in street football.
Ronaldinho: The Brazilian superstar, Ronaldinho, renowned for his skill, creativity, and dazzling tricks on the field, first played football in the streets of Porto Alegre, Brazil. His flamboyant style is often attributed to the free-flowing, improvisational nature of street football.
Lionel Messi: Like Maradona, Messi also started playing football on the streets of his hometown, Rosario, Argentina. This early experience is often credited for his impressive dribbling skills.
These legends serve as a testament to the fact that no matter where you start in life, passion and dedication can lead you to greatness. Urbanball is a street football ecosystem that supports the current and next generation of street football from a grassroots level, providing them with a platform to excel, so expect to see many more superstars on the big screens in the near future.