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Football players who started their careers late

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Today’s football academies have an established training process for young athletes. From the age of six, children are taught basic ball handling skills. Then the knowledge and technique are improved and the best young players move on to professional clubs. It seems that this is the only way to get into modern sport. But history knows many examples of established masters who didn’t start their careers in early childhood.

Miroslav Klose

The father of the future top scorer of the World Cup was a Polish immigrant and played professional football. Klose’s mother played handball. And so Miroslav’s craving for sport started at an early age. But his parents were convinced that their son had to learn a working profession first.

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Klose obeyed his father and mother and became a bricklayer, he also had the skills of a joiner and carpenter. He occasionally attended the football academy. At 21, Miroslav joined the second team of “Kaiserslautern”, which then played in the fifth ranked league in Germany. His ascent to football Olympus began there. Later Klose would go on to become national and world champion, playing for Bayern and Lazio. 

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Luca Toni

Toni started playing at the age of 17. Until the age of 23 the future Italian striker played in the lower leagues and unsuccessfully tried to move to a higher level. Toni did not give up, and eventually he was noticed by the Serie A club scouts. Vicenza was the first to discover his talent. Later, Luca’s career included Italian top clubs, Bayern and the world champion title in 2006.

Vinnie Jones

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At the age of 12, he was dropped from Watford’s academy as he was deemed completely unpromising. Vinnie was shocked and forgot about football until he was 19. He worked as a construction worker until an acquaintance persuaded him to start playing for amateur club Wilston. It was a team where he opened up and became bright and sharp. He was spotted by scouts professional club Wimbledon, in the composition of which Vinny won the FA Cup. Then came Leeds, Chelsea and the Welsh national team. To everyone’s surprise, after ending his career, Jones became an actor. 

Didier Drogba

Until the age of 21 the Chelsea legend did not even play football. He was not up to it, because Didier’s family kept moving before settling in France. Then someone advised Drogba to take up football. Didier listened and after a few years he became a real star.

Peter Schmeichel

As a young man the renowned goalkeeper seriously dreamed of becoming a musician. He sometimes played football, but as a striker rather than a goalkeeper. One day, when he was in his 20s, he had to stand in goal to replace a team-mate. It was at this point that Schmeichel really fell in love with football. He became Manchester United’s leading goalkeeper and a world champion with Denmark national team.

Jamie Vardy

As a youngster Vardy enjoyed playing football, scoring regularly but English Premier League club managers didn’t seem to take him seriously because of his height. It was only at the age of 25 that he managed to make his way to Leicester, breaking into the English Premiere League and sensationally winning the national championship.

Read: Top 5 goalscorers in the FA Cup over 150 years of history

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Rahul Roy
Rahul Roy
I am a computer guy by profession and a sports fanatic by choice.

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