10 Footballers That Made It Late (Part 2)

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Many footballers were climbing from the very bottom to earn their spot in the football elite and made it thanks to endless persistence and faith.

Following the 1st part of footballers that made it late, we’re presenting the list of other 5 late bloomers which made it in the professional world of football. These guys are clear proof that there’s no universal recipe on how to become successful professional football (soccer) player. If you’re thinking like them and putting all your energy in your ultimate goal, you’re definitely more likely to succeed!

6) Rickie Lambert – not played Premier League before turning 30 on a way to the World Cup 2014

Believe it or not, Lambert played his first ever Premier League game at the age of 30 (!) against Manchester City in 2012/13 season. Before, Rickie spent much of his career in lower league and non-league habitats. At the age of 31, he was called up to the England national team for the first time and scored a goal on his debut – like in his Premier League debut – in a friendly against Scotland with his first touch. You would think that when you have been forced to make ends meet selling beetroot and had not played in the Premier League before turning 30, appearing in the World Cup finals was enough of a pipe dream. Apparently not for Rickie Lambert.

7) Milivoje Novaković – From Austria amateur football to Bundesliga top scorer

Slovenian international team second best scorer of all time who also played World Cup 2010 never got a chance to play in first division of his country, although he went through all selections of his team Olimpija Ljubljana. He was stigmatized as untalented player. That’s why he moved to Austria at age of 20 and started in one of the lowest (amateur) division there. However, his scoring abilities helped him to earn a spot in Austria’s first division at the age of 25. But that wasn’t all: Novaković continued to show his scoring talent and eventually got an opportunity to establish himself in the Bundesliga with 1. FC Köln. He was the best scorer of 2. Bundesliga in 2008 (16 goals) and best team scorer of 1st Bundesliga. He’s now successfully playing in Japanese top league side Shimizu S-Pulse.

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8) Javi Varas – Debuting with 27 stops Messi’s penalty

Another late bloomer! Varas arrived at Sevilla aged 23, after having only played amateur football (although he had been bought by the club two years earlier). He spent his first 3 seasons with the B team, contributing with 13 games in 2006/07 as it promoted to Segunda División for the first time ever, and training now and then with the main squad. Although he was spotted by his mentor at Sevilla, Pablo Blanco, when he was 11, Varas didn’t make his competitive debut for the first team until close to his 27th birthday. The highlight of his career has been stopping a penalty taken by Lionel Messi in the last minute of the match on Camp Nou (2011/12), which ended 0:0.

9) Lee Tuck – Non-league player becomes a football king of Thailand

Struggling to make an impact in England and following a spell with non-league Farsley Celtic, he arrived in Thailand in 2010 after taking up a friend’s invitation to play for Nakhon Pathom FC. A move to Thailand’s capital to play for Bangkok FC – in the country’s second tier – soon followed and the Huddersfield man’s adventurous spirit is being rewarded in a big way. Since signing for Bangkok FC, he has scored 45 goals in 60 appearances, winning Thailand’s Golden Boot last season.

10) Ian Wright – Amateur and non-league player who became a pro and scored scored 387 goals in 581 games

Wright came to professional football relatively late. Despite having a trials at Southend United and Brighton during his teens, he was unable to attract sufficient interest to win a professional contract. Reverting to playing for amateur and non-league teams, he was left disillusioned about his chances of a career as a pro footballer. A Crystal Palace talent scout happened to see Wright playing for Dulwich Hamlet and invited him to have a trial at Selhurst Park. Having impressed then-manager Steve Coppell, he signed professional terms for Crystal Palace in August 1985, just three months short of his 22nd birthday.


Note: 10 Pro Footballers That Made It Late (Part 1)


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This post was originally published on Nick Humphries’ blog: Chasing The Dream.


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