B1 Intermediate US 17 Folder Collection
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Hey yo, it's JR right here.
All month long it's been all about the 2018 Russia World Cup and nothing seems like to be stopping the football fever even when big starts like Neymar, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo have gone home already.
So today let's talk about the probably unknown to you, 5 stories of the best football players who've attended this year's World Cup. Here it goes.
Cristiano Ronaldo
Great talent with a big ego. I think that's quite fair to say of him since he is a 5-time World Player of the Year. And to go with that, he does have a museum of his own with a plaque in the front saying, “Best Player In The World.”
But under his disputable reputation, have you ever wondered why Ronaldo doesn't have a single tattoo on his muscular body? Especially when getting a tattoo is such a way of celebrating yourself in the football world.
Well, it's because in many countries, new tattoos can affect how often a person can donate blood as a precaution against cross-contamination. And Ronaldo donates blood very very often.
He's a rather generous person who's helped paid the medications for sick children.
He's also a bone marrow donor after seeing one of his teammate's struggles saying, “It doesn't cost anything. It's a simple process and then you feel happy because you know you are helping another person.”
Lionel Messi
Messi, in no doubt the best player in the world. Okay, maybe there is some doubt from Ronaldo. But on the contrary to Ronaldo, Messi is a very very quite person.
The first time he stepped into the FC Barcelona Youth Team changing room, he was so shy he didn't speak a single word. His new teammates couldn't believe how small he was but later they were more astonished by how good he was.
When Messi was little, his grandmother would watch him play soccer with the other boys around nearly every single day. It was his grandmother who convinced his mother to buy Messi first pair of cleats.
And as you can imagine, when Messi's grandmother passed away when he was 10, he was so devastated, he wouldn't touch a football for weeks.
Eventually moving on, young Messi started to show great talent in the game and wanted to become a professional footballer. But at 11 years old, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, which stunted his growth.
At the time being, Argentina was undergoing an economical collapse. His family couldn't afford the treatment and neither was any football club selling to pay for them.
It was until he was 13 years old that he received an offered for a trial at the famous FC Barcelona. If Messi passed, they would cover his entire medical bills.
Messi passed. Their family moved to Spain, and that's where the legend began. Messi would then practice every day during daytime and inject growth hormone through needles into his legs at night until he was 14.
Quoting Messi himself, “You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.
Harry Kane
Remember Ronaldinho's stunning free kick against England in the 2002 World Cup?
Well, that broke Harry Kane's heart and became his first memory of wanting to play in the World Cup one day.
But instead of bringing up his professional career, his stats. Let's take a look into his personal life.
With most football starts dating, marrying super models, singers, etc. Kane lives a much more low-profile romantic life, engaged to his childhood friend, Katie Goodland.
In this picture, Kane and Katie posed with David Beckham at the Beckham Academy. Little did he know, years later they would start dating each other. They were good friend at school, they always talked to each other. And it just came naturally.
You won't catch Kane clubbing or drinking during football seasons. He doesn't have a cool Instagram account. You don't see kids wearing his jersey around. He seems to be the quite down-to-earth type of guy!
And ironically, that's probably why he hadn't picked up much media attention before the World Cup.
When Kane talks about his fiancée, he says, “She's seen my whole career. Of course she's finding it a little crazy. If I was single now and meeting people, you'd never know if they were with you for the right reasons. Is it the money? You'd never really know. So I'm lucky I've got a childhood sweetheart.”
Angel Di Maria
In the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup, Di Maria tore his thigh muscle. With painkillers he could still run without feeling the pain. So he told his trainers he wanted to play in the finals even if it would end his career.
However, on game day, he was benched throughout the entire match as he witnessed Argentina lose 0-1 to Germany.
When Di Maria was little, he was always hyperactive, causing lots of trouble for the family. And it came to the point where his mother had to take him to the doctors. Fortunately, the doctor gave him just the right treatment, football.
Di Maria got so obsessed with football that he was wearing out his boots every 2 months. And his mother had to glue them back together since they couldn't afford to buy new ones.
One day, his father got a phone call from a local football club. It was his mother's favorite team and they wanted Di Maria to play for them.
But the place was 9 kilometers away, and they didn't have a car, so from then on, his mother rode a rusty old yellow bicycle to take him to practice every single day.
His sister had to come, too. So his father made a wooden platform attached to the side of the bicycle where his sister could sit.
But even after making it into the club, things weren't easy. By the time he was 15 years old, he still wasn't growing. And his coach was giving him a hard time, thinking he was weak. One day, he went home crying, he told his mother he wanted to quit.
The next morning, his mother sat on his bed and said to him, “You're going back, Angel. You're going back today to go prove yourself to him.” It took him another year to make it into the senior team. And that's when his career started to take off.
Romeu Lukaku
His nickname is the Belgium beast. Just take a look at his speed and his size and you'll get the picture.
When he was 11, he was playing for a youth team. He was so much bigger than the other kids that during one game, one of the parents from the other team questioned him about his age, where he came from, trying to stop him from going on the pitch.
Lukaku grabbed his ID from his bag showing it to all the parents with an urge inside him saying, “Now I'm gonna destroy your son even more. You're gonna drive the boy crying home now.”
When Lukaku was 6, one day he saw his mother mixing water into the milk they drank. At that point, their family wasn't just poor, they were broke.
Lukaku didn't say a word about it. He didn't want to stress his mother. But inside his heart, he swore to God, he promised himself that one day he'd make a change.He didn't want to tell his mother but some days when he got home, he would find his mother crying.
So he finally told his mother, “Mum, it's gonna change. You'll see. I'm going to play football for Anderlecht, and it's going to happen soon. We'll be good. You won't have to worry anymore.”
Every game he played, he played it as if it was the final. He played with anger, not at people but at the rats running around in their house, because they couldn't watch football on TV when they were kids, because of how other parents looked at him.
His father became a professional footballer at 16. So he swore to go pro at 16. His first ever played professional match was when he was 16 years and 11 days old.
In memory of that match he said, “We lost the final that day, but I was already in heaven. I made good on my promise to my mother and to my grandad.”
So those are the 5 inspiring stories from the footballers of the 2018 World Cup. Under the limelight they're big stars but in person they're just human like you and me.
To make it to the top, they played harder then any one else. You gotta strive hard to achieve that goal.
Peace.
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Cristiano Ronaldo

17 Folder Collection
ZORA l published on June 16, 2020
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