The primary assignment of every football clubs is to get results on the field of play through their players in other for them to move up top in the league, while it seems that mental health awareness is been taken seriously gradually in other professions, but same can’t be said of the soccer world as it seems the profession is lagging behind in paying attention to mental health or the health of the players generally, however, this is equally debatable though.
Furthermore, the fans are always concerned with their players getting results for them anytime they’re on the field and ready to hit the ground running, but when results are not forthcoming, more often than not the fans are always out with the sticks booing and criticizing both the players and the manager. Then one thing that many of the fans failed to understand is the fact when a player underperforms it’s either the player is going through a torrid time despite all the money and fame, as money is not even equal to happiness when the players ain’t happy due to depression.
In this piece, Cheapgoals will take a look at the rise and fall of a Prince from Favela, who gave up football for his happiness having faced depression due to his father’s death.
Talent is one special gift given to mankind by God, yet it is of utmost necessity and secondary to note that every player must balance their talents with dedication, hard work, and professionalism, as such when a professional footballer lacks dedication and hard work his talent may not be enough to take such player to higher height in his career.
All over the world, Brazil is one country that is synonymous with providing and nurturing great talents in terms of soccer, despite the poor surroundings, drugs and gangster violence, high state of corruption, and raping, yet football, as the case may be, is one beautiful thing that the Brazilian take solace in to take them out of poverty and hardship just like it did for the likes of Rivaldo, Dani Alves, Ronaldo, and many more who had use football as a stepping stone to luxury and fame while still in the slum of Rio De Janeiro or Sao Paulo.
The dusty pitch of Vila Cruzeiro is more often than not usually play a part in the success stories of many Brazilian football stars who have found their way down to the European leagues, and among these great talents who have found their way down to some of the biggest leagues in the world is Ronaldinho who played for Paris Saint Germain, Barcelona, and AC Milan at the tail end of his career, Ronaldo Luiz Nazario De Lima played for PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid, among other great Brazilian players who emerged from the highly corrupt and horrible city of Rio.
According to Sandra Vieira who runs the community center which includes the soccer field, she said “There is so much talent in Vila Cruzeiro that could even be enough to field a national team” as such if the statement of Sandra were anything to go by then the rise of Leite Adriano to stardom from the slum of Favela and the Vila Cruzeiro pitch is one unique thing that makes the Brazilian football stars to stand out, but then that doesn’t mean they usually don’t have or face difficulties in their rosy careers.
The Rise Of Leite Adriano
Leite Adriano was born in 1982 in Brazil, and he was synonymous with a powerful strike with his left foot anytime he’s on the pitch, but his career was marred by inconsistency and lack of hunger for the game which brought about a great decline in his onfield performances which coincided with the death of his father.
Adriano started his football career in 1999 with the Flamengo youth team, having impressed the team hierarchy he was promoted to the senior team a year later, and in 2000 he made his senior debut for Flamengo against Botafogo, following his impressive performance in Flamengo, Adriano secured a move to Italy to play for one of the best team in the land Inter Milan in 2001-02 season in a deal believed to worth €13.189million, he scored his first goal against Real Madrid in a friendly match as a substitute.
Getting to Inter Milan and having played just eight matches and scored one goal, Adriano was loaned out to Fiorentina for the 2001-02 season, thereafter Inter Milan agreed a two year co-ownership deal with Parma in other for them to sign one of the hottest talents in the league Fabio Cannavaro for €8.8million which also included another player in Matteo Ferrari. Adriano loan away from Inter Milan didn’t discourage his morale as he went on to form a formidable partnership with then Romania forward Adrian Mutu scoring over 22 goals in 36 appearances for the Viola.
Adriano’s impressive performances caught the eyes of Inter Milan board and he was asked to return back after his loan spell with Fiorentina ended, returning to Inter in 2004 he signed a four and half year contract worth around €23.4million and as such he went on to scored 12 goals towards the concluding part of the season. The following season Adriano picked up from where he stopped in the previous season and hit the ground running with goals scoring an impressive 42 goals in both domestic and international tournaments and he was rewarded with a new contract for having done well in 2005 which runs until 2010.
Prior to signing a new deal with the Nerazzurri, unfortunately for Adriano, his form and scoring prowess suffered a strange decline due to the death of his father back in Brazil. While some were of the opinion that his late partying at the night clubs also contributed to his decline which even played a part in him not getting called by then Brazil manager the legend Dunga, who later admonished him to focus on his football and do away with indecent behaviors, over the course of his stay with Inter Milan he played over 115 matches and scored over 47 goals for the blue and black side of Milan.
The Fall Of Leite Adriano
On August 4th, 2004, Adriano was preparing for the first competitive game of the season against FC Basel in a Champions League qualifier, the Brazilian receives a heart-shattering call that his father has passed away. Almir Leite Ribeiro had come down with a sudden illness and at the young age of 44, passed away in the night. Almir and Adriano were always very close. The news was simply devastating for a young man who only minutes ago, had a burning passion and ready to break any defensive barrier with his talent.
For many who saw Adriano good days at Inter Milan will definitely agree to the fact that the Brazilian is one great talent that will surely achieve a lot in his football career, unfortunately for the Brazilian, the story changed towards the negative side, as many were of the opinion that he lost form due to his father’s death and most importantly the drinking of alcohol, smoking and nightclubbing which made him adding extra weight.
“The death of my father left a huge void in me,” he later admitted to Brazilian magazine R7. “I was alone, sad and depressed in Italy and that’s when I started drinking.”
“I did not know how to hide it because I was drunk even at training,” he said of the beer, wine, whiskey and vodka binges that took over his life. “I was completely drunk. They took me to the infirmary to sleep and then the club told the press that I had muscular problems.”
In 2007, the fall started due to the loss of form and most importantly when then Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti sent him on unpaid leave to his country Brazil, as such the Brazilian used that as an opportunity to attend Sao Paulo training center which he intended using to get back on his feet following his poor physical condition and a battle with drinking. His agent denied the fact that the Brazilian wasn’t sent on leave to Brazil that there is an imminent transfer looming for him to move down to his native land and among other clubs interested in signing the forward.
However Moratti later claimed that Adriano would remain with the Nerazzurri, then later on the club’s technical director then Marco Bianca said that he was expected to rejoin the team at the start of the new season, hearing the statement was nice to the ears of Adriano but unfortunately Inter Milan later finalized a loan deal with Sao Paulo for the forward to join them for the remainder of 2007-08 season which coincided with the 2008 Copa Libertadores.
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When he moved to Sao Paulo, Adriano was shown a lot of affection by the fans, as fans were seen standing in a long queue to purchase his new number 10 jersey at the team’s official merchandise shop after the Brazilian was unveiled at the team press conference to the Sao Paulo faithful, after his unveiling and he hit the ground running with a brace against Guaratingueta on the opening day of the Paulista competition.
Despite being in the good books of the Sao Paulo, his bad behavior raised his ugly head first when he headbutted Santos fullback Domingos which led to his suspension for two matches, after initially risking a suspension of eighteen months, and then again he was fined for arriving late for training, leaving early and exchanging words with a photographer. All of the erratic behaviors led to his exit from Sao Paulo back to Inter Milan having played over 21 matches and scoring 11 goals. His returned back to Inter Milan was a fruitful one as he was a regular goalscorer in the early stages of the 2008-09 Seria A season reaching a combined total of 100 domestic goals in the Seria A and the Brazilian league, and Adriano later rescinded his contract with the Nerazzurri.
Mourinho speaking in 2009 about Adriano’s late return to the squad:
It’s a serious situation for us. It’s no joke. It’s not about lack of discipline, but I don’t want to complicate things. I am sad, not angry, but I don’t want to say anything. We will see how it all ends. I am concerned for the person rather than the player.
Adriano moved on to Flamengo after rescinding his contract with Inter, signed a one year contract with the Brazilian club returning back to where it’s all started in his quest to become a professional footballer, he played over 32 matches and scored 19 goals and his impressive performances were instrumental in Flamengo winning their first Brazilian Seria A title since 1992.
The Brazilian later found his way back to Italy with Roma signing a three-year deal with the Giallorossi, but the forward didn’t stay longer with the Italian side using only seven months with the Roman side.
Following his departure from Roma, he had a brief stint with Corinthians but unfortunately, the injury couldn’t let him perform and was later released for lack of interest in playing, aside from that what is very clear to everyone is the fact that the Brazilian desires to be surrounded by people he loved after his father’s death, even no matter how unsavory, and far outweighed his once burning passion for football was, yet the former Inter Milan couldn’t rise up again to the Adriano we saw at Inter and with the Brazilian national team.
Adriano fall from playing professional football could be attributed to the death of his father, which was corroborated by former Inter Milan chairman and the players, when he got a call from Brazil, that his father is dead, “I saw him in his room, he threw the phone and started screaming” Moratti said you couldn’t imagine that kind of scream and since that day the chairman and the team players watched over him as if he was their little brother, although he kept scoring and dedicating those goals to his father with his hands pointed to the sky in respect for his father, however despite all of the affections showed towards him the players didn’t succeed in pulling him out of depression which later went on to affects his career.
The depression got to him so badly, and he left Europe to rediscover his passion and happy life again, though the Brazilian couldn’t win the World Cup, Ballon d’Or, or the Champion League during his spells in European football then he will be remembered as one the great talent that graced the field of play with his power-play scoring prowess despite falling into depression and as such his story should be a lesson for every football stars who also found themselves in such situation.
The Favela gang have been part of Rio’s long-running fraternity – killing thousands in order to dominate the city’s lucrative drug trade.
Adriano is alleged to have bought the AK47-firing mob a motorbike as a sweetener in order to keep him and his family safe.
7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players
When it comes to loyalty and commitment in the beautiful game, there are few football players who are able to pledge their allegiance and refused to be swayed by big offers. For every Ashley Cole, there’s also a Totti.
There are players who when they reach their potentials, will get easily swayed by money and the probable fame that will follow their transition to other clubs. While other players would simply remain at their current club because of the love they have for the club.
The first set of players who leave the club when bigger clubs come calling are always remembered for their exploits while at the club. But, the second type of football player who ignores the temptations of leaving their ‘most loved’ football club sides is regarded as heroes.
Meanwhile, there are some known players who have showcased utmost loyalty for their respective clubs. For instance, Francesco Totti waved off Real Madrid’s offer in 2006, stating AS Roma as his family and he’s never seen a situation where a child would leave his poor parents to go live with rich strangers.
But what about other unpopular loyal players like Francesco Totti, Stephen Gerrard or even Mark Noble?.
Here’s a list of 7 most loyal football players
- David Zibung (Goalkeeper) – FC Luzern (18 Years +)
The life of this Swiss goalkeeper has been all about his boyhood club, FC Luzern. The +37-year old was born in Hergiswil which is in the Nidwalden region in Switzerland.
He joined the youth team of FC Luzern in 1999 and was there till 2003. Zibung grew in leaps and bounds with the Luzern main team, ever since he broke into the first team, he’s never for once considered leaving the club.
Technically, Zibung would’ve spent eighteen years at Luzern by July 2021. But he’s definitely spent more than eighteen years given that he’s been at the club’s feeder team before 2003.
Zibung remains one of the oldest and longest-serving loyal goalkeepers of the Swiss League.
- Hidekazu Otani (Midfielder) – Kashiwa Reysol (18 Years)
Otani is a midfielder of note, who joined his one and only club in 2000 as a teenager. Now 36 years-old, Okami has been deployed in many parts of the midfield but his natural position is the defensive midfield where he plays comfortably well.
The Japanese veteran midfielder has on numerous occasions been offered to leave his club but his love for the Sun King club has held him back so much so that he’s willing to retire at the club when the time comes.
While some quarters may believe that Hidekazu Okani had been at Kashiwa for eighteen years, the fans of the club see him as an integral part of the club’s history given that he’s won laurels with the club severally.
- Igor Akinfeev (Goalkeeper) – CSKA Moscow (18 Years)
Akinfeev is probably the most popular player we’re x-raying in this Exposé. Akinfeev, Russian, is the Russian National Team goalkeeper and captain, as well as his club side, CSKA Moscow.
History has it that the 34-year old shot-stopper has been at CSKA Moscow since the age of four. His father sent him to the Sports School of CSKA where he began his goalkeeping career and won the Russian Junior Championship in 2002 with the CSKA Moscow team.
Akinfeev would make his debut for CSKA Moscow at sixteen, precisely 2001 where he saved a penalty and also had a clean sheet. He has played over five hundred matches for CSKA Moscow, winning six Russian Cup titles, six Russian Premier League titles as well as the 2005 UEFA Cup with the club.
His incredible rise to stardom is down to his personality and ingenuity as a goalkeeper. He’s arguably the best goalkeeper the Russian nation has ever produced and has been on several international tournaments for the country since he joined the national team.
It may sound bizarre but Akinfeev has spent thirty years at the Red-blues. That is a huge commitment mixed with loyalty.
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- Ismed Sofyan (Defender) – Persita Jakarta (18 Years)
Talking about the most loyal player, Sofyan’s loyalty isn’t about his club alone, it’s for his country and his country’s elite league, The Indonesian Super League – Not that he’s an amateur.
Yes, he may have played for a couple of club sides in the Indonesian league, but his love and unwavering support for his country is immeasurable.
Sofyan currently plays for Persita Jakarta, a club he joined in 2002 that has made him become the longest-serving player in the club until now. The 41year-old right full-back is a free-kick specialist. He was only privileged to play for the Indonesian National Team for just 53 times.
- Dean Lewington (Defender) – Milton Keynes Dons FC (18 Years)
As of July 2020, Lewinton is the longest-serving player for a single club in English League having spent sixteen years with The Dons.
The English left-back joined MK Dons after a successful spell with Wimbledon in 2004. Lewington, 32, has made over seven hundred appearances with more than 250 different team-mates.
He’s witnessed two promotions and relegations as the club’s captain for the years he’s been at MK Dons and he’s grateful for the sort of longevity he’s had.
He told daily mail in 2016 ‘It’s not like the Premier League where you get five-year deals. It is one or two years. When we won promotion to the Championship in 2015, I was out of contract on the final day as we were celebrating.’
- Koji Homa (Goalkeeper) – Mito HollyHock (21 Years)
Undoubtedly a popular figure in the Japanese league, the 43-year-old goalkeeper currently plays for the above-named club in the second tier of the Japanese League, J2.
After graduating from high school, he joined the J1 League side Urawa Reds in 1996 but couldn’t play more often before crossing to Mito HollyHock in 1999 and never looked back.
He’s helped Mito HollyHock achieve some amazing feats since he joined in 1999 with the biggest of them being the promotion of the club to J2 in 2000.
In his twenty-one-year sojourn with the club, Koji Homma holds the record for the player with the highest number of matches played in J2.
- Lee Casciaro (Forward) – Lincoln Red Imps (22 Years)
The 38-year-old Gibraltar striker scored the only goal of the game when his Gibraltarian minnows club (Lincoln Red Imps) shocked Celtic and to a larger extent, the rest of Europe in their Champions League qualifier at the Victoria Stadium in 2016,
Cascario, 39, has been at the club since he was eight years old and has spent twenty-three years as a first-team member.
It should be agreed that Lincoln Red Imps was made for Cascario, given that two of his younger brothers have played for the club as well.
With three international goals, Lee Henry Cascario is currently Gibraltar’s all-time goalscorer since the 33,684 populated nation joined UEFA.
- Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao): 11 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Tarantini (Rio Ave): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Stefan Radu (Lazio): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Vincent Manceau (Angers SCO): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Anthony Lopes (Lyon): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Koke (Atletico Madrid): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Roberto Torres (Osasuna): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Gerard Pique (Barcelona): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Mario Gaspar Perez (Villarreal): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow): 13 years, 1 month, 3 days
- Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur): 13 years, 1 month, 10 days
- Volodymyr Chesnakov (Vorskla Poltava): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Mahmut Tekdemir (Istanbul Basaksehir): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Sergio Busquets (Barcelona): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Anton Shunin (Dynamo Moscow): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Marcelo (Real Madrid): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Sammy Bossut (Zulte Waregem): 14 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid): 15 years, 4 days
- Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Francesco Magnanelli (Sassuolo): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Jessy Moulin (Saint-Etienne): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Oier (Osasuna): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Alvarez (Celta de Vigo): 16 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Mark Noble (West Ham United): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Lionel Messi: (Barcelona): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Denis Sinyayev(FC Avangard Kursk)18 years
- Ismaeil Matar (Al-Wahda): 19 years
- Petr Literak(Frýdek-Místek): 22 years
Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise
Erling Haaland was always going to become the ultimate striker and probably the best number 9 on the planet. Also, there’s every possibility that one day, he may become a Ballon D’or winner. But, there’s still one mystery, how did he become the cyborg that he is today?
Haaland continues to be a goal machine, becoming the quickest player in history to reach 20 Champions League goals. His goal from the spot in the UCL round-16 second leg tie against Sevilla was his 20th goal in just 14 appearances in the competition, which broke Harry Kane’s previous record of 24 games.
“Of course he’s fast, powerful, good around the goal and he’s got real soccer sense. But it’s more of his energy, it’s his infectious personality that I think is like a magnet; it draws people to him, it makes people want to be around him.” Those are the words of Red Bull Salzburg manager, Jesse Marsch.
Grab a handful of popcorn and sit back as we unfold the story behind the rise of this Norwegian beast, goal machine, and keeper’s nightmare, Erling Braut Haaland.
Haaland’s Salzburg Breakthrough
As at when Jesse Marsch was appointed as Salzburg manager, Haaland had been at the club for about six months and had only played one game. And then he went to the U-20 World Cup where he scored nine goals in one game.
From his Salzburg debut, Haaland, who had already impressed at the Norwegian league with Bryne and Molde left observers with no doubt about the quality he possesses.
He would become one of the best strikers on the planet because the talent in him was very obvious. In a chat with oh-my-goal, Jesse Marsch revealed that Haaland’s personality was the first thing he fell in love with about Haaland.
“The first couple of days I worked with him, what impressed me more than anything else was his personality on the pitch. He was just relentless! He worked harder than anyone.”
But beyond his raw talent in Salzburg, Erling Haaland left his mark on the locker room with his personality. He had a smile on his face and got along incredibly well with his teammates. Therefore, it wasn’t just his talent, it was his overall energy.
Erling in person had a really positive influence on his teammates. Erling the player, was a selfish assassin who scored 29 goals in 27 appearances for the Austrian club.
Meanwhile, he also always talked about making his teammates happy. “The best memory I Had of him was when we were getting penalties in just about every game, and he was giving them to all the other attacking players.“
“And then, after a player missed a penalty, I said Ok, Erling has to take the penalties and I told him he would be taking the penalties”
“It’s incredible to have such a talented player who loves to score goals, be the one that is giving the penalty responsibilities to the others because he wants them to feel the power of success, the power of scoring goals, and the power of confidence. That says a lot to me about the character of Erling.” Marsch revealed.
At 19, when most people think about personal glory, Haaland was already a perfect teammate and a future leader which was unprecedented for a player as good as he was and in his age range.
Without a doubt, Haaland’s personality was great enthusiastic and it did really have a big effect on a lot of people at Salzburg.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Influence
Erling Haaland may owe his incredible rise to his immense talent and his positive leadership qualities. But that’s not all, Cristiano Ronaldo also played a huge role in Haaland’s evolution.
People often say that Erling Haaland is the next Cristiano Ronaldo but is the CR7 comparison justified?
Certainly, Erling is more of a pure striker than Cristiano but from a power football perspective, his ability in the transition to affect games like the Portuguese ace makes the comparison justifiable.
Haaland himself admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo was his role model but if like Cristiano, Erling broke all the goalscoring records, it’s not really the part of football that CR7 has influenced.
Haaland is following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps in terms of leadership and he even is now a role model to many players just like Ronaldo was to him.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had positive effects on his teammates and in every team, he’s played in which really helped him overtime right from his days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. But for Erling, one could really see that right from his young age that it’s a natural quality he has.
It will be up to Haaland to continue to modify that aspect of himself and mold that in a way that he can become a really strong leader within his teams as he continues to grow older.
Above all, Haaland took inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo in one essential area, work ethic. Like CR7, he’s always hungry to improve. “He really worked hard a lot. After training, he would stick around to finish, to hit some crosses, to work on his heading.” – Jesse Marsch, RB Salzburg Coach.
Like CR7, Erling Haaland thinks every little detail counts. He would wear special glasses because he felt like when you look at your computer all day long or your cell phone, that your eyes would start to fade and so he had that special glasses he always wears.
And while he has his own personality, Erling is directly inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo especially when it comes to nutrition and work ethic by picking the most hardworking professional football player in history as his role model.
Perfect With BVB
Borussia Dortmund activated his €20 million (£17m/$22m) release clause, beating United and Leipzig to his signature after all three clubs held meetings with the player, his father, and agent Mino Raiola.
Borussia Dortmund already had forward Paco Alcacer on the books, but saw Haaland as such a generational talent, that they were willing to offload the Spain international to give the Norwegian teen an even better chance of success.
CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says that they had been looking for someone with Haaland’s particular skill set for a long time and could not pass up the opportunity to sign him.
“We always wanted to have a center-forward who has a different way of playing football,” Watzke told Goal and DAZN. “But this guy also had to come onto the market first.
There are not many who are 1.94 meters (6 ft 4 in) tall and that fast. Actually, nobody else comes to mind. It was just an opportunity that you don’t get very often. – Goal.com
Dortmund offered the striker the best chance of regular game time as they promised to make him their first-choice striker, something Alf-Inge Haaland admits is crucial to his development.
Haaland’s Dortmund story got off to the perfect start with the most incredible debut against Augsburg. Trailing 3-1, Lucien Favre sent on the teenager from the bench and was rewarded with a 22-minute hat-trick to help secure a 5-3 win.
Having revealed all the secrets that make Haaland an outstanding striker, in all honesty, the Norwegian striker has no limit because he keeps getting better at Dortmund.
He was incredible at Salzburg. “We were obviously so sad to lose him so quickly because we had a lot of fun and success with him, but we’re also very proud of him and we’re really excited to see him continue to push himself and move forward and show everybody in the world how good he is.”
And today, he’s showing just how good he is in Germany. He used to only be seen as a superpowered and superfast goalscorer. But at Dortmund? He’s also shown his technical advances and his in-game intelligence and influence.
He’s more and more capable of keeping the ball, playing in different positions, taking part in the game, in short, he’s become the ultimate striker.
Giving his unique skill-set and amazing personality, he will definitely sign for a bigger club in years to come. Yes, he may experience some difficulties, but his quality will help him manage whatever challenge that comes his way and in-turn become the best number 9 of not only his generation but in football history.