The 2014 FIFA World Cup delivered once again on a month of fantastic football. From the shock of Brazil’s route in the semi-finals to the glory ofthe German game matchwinner in the 113th minute of the Final the tournament was witness to both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Of the 32 teams and millions of football players world-wide who would love to hoist the Cup trophy only a handful will ever experience reaching the pinnacle of international football – in fact studies show the chances of being on a World Cup winning squad are less than less than winning the lottery!
That said, even the best players must get their start somewhere. In fact, many of the best elite players who took the field this summer come came from humble beginnings. Here are where the top 5 World Cup goal scorers began and how they got their start on the road to football glory:
James Rodriguez-– Goals 6
Colombia’s golden child boy was the World Cup’s leading scorer, including the undisputed goal of the tournament, a 25 25-yard volley he rocketed into the top left corner against Uruguay in the semi-finals that displayed both vision and skill. However Rodriguez comes from humble roots, growing up in the city of Cúcuta in along the north-eastern border with Venezuela. His father was an ex-football prodigy however he was largely absent during James’s formative years. In fact it was his godfather Juan Carlos Restrepo who noticed Rodriguez’s burgeoning talent as a footballer – at the age of just two James was taken as a toddler to watch local side Cooperamos Tolima train and was seen tottering along mimicking the squad’s drills. With such an innate natural talentflair Rodriguez was enrolled at the tender age of 5 in the Academia Tolimense football school. He got his big break with this amazing goal scored directly from a corner kick in the 2004 Pony Futbol Championship.
Thomas Müller – Goals 5
Tthe Bayern attacker who played such a key role in Germany’s World Cupchampionship hails from the small Bavarian town of Weilheim (known best for being home to the Dachsbräu brewery)and began his football career with TSV Pahl. There could be no doubt amongst local scouts that they had found a football prodigy. In his first season with TSV Pahlthe team scored 165 goals and Müller scored 120 of them! He is also one of the few footballers to avoid the temptations that fame and fortune brings and has stayed with his childhood sweetheart who he married at the age of 19.Müllerhas had a number of already has a number of fantastic goals that have been crucial in his short but successful career, you can see his World Cup goals here!
Neymar – Goals 4
Although Neymar will unfortunately likely Unfortunately for Neymar he is likely to be remembered more for his the back injury which that many feel ended Brazil’s chances of winning the 2014 World Cup, . there There can be no doubt the star forward was a force to be reckoned with until ending up he was on the wrong end of Camilo Zuniga’s knee. Born Neymar da Silva Santos Junior in São Paulo, he was the son of a professional footballer. Like many Brazilian greats before him hes honed his football skills playing on the streets and beaches as well as the famous futsal indoor soccer. He first played for Potuguesa Santista youth club and where news of Neymar’s amazing abilities reached reached as far away as Europe. Neymar was where he was selected chosen selected for the Real Madrid’s development team at the age of 14 and however . However his home team managed to convince the youngster to stay in Brazil for a large cash bonus. Check out Neymar’s skill as a 16 16-year year-old here.
Lionel Messi – Goals 4
Widely regarded as one of the top football players if not the best of his generation, Messi is also well-known for his diminutive size. Messi was always small but became known for his fearless play against bigger players as a young footballer in Rosairo, Argentina. At the age of 8, after being recruited by Newell’s Old Boys club, doctor’s discovered that Messi wasn’t simply small, he was actually suffering from an acute growth hormone deficiency (GHD) which was stunting his growth. At around $900 per month Messi’s parents could not barely afford the necessary treatment. However at the age of 13 Messi was recruited by FC Barcelona’s youth academy, La Masia, and the club would begin paying for his nightly growth injections which would allow Messi to, literally, grow into one of the world’s best football players. Watch Messi literally growing into his boots here.
Robin van Persie – Goals 4
While many of the players on this list had footballer father figures, van Persie’sfather dad was a sculptor and his mother was a jewellery designer, both of whom were intent on young Robin having similar aspirations.However Robin was always more creative with his feet than a paint brush and when his parents divorced his father enrolled him in the Feyenoord football academy, claiming that a fortune teller had told him that “he would be in the Dutch National team and that he would be a king on the field.”van Van Persie would go on to play for Excelsior youth squad and sign penned his first professional contract at age 17. Here is a video of young a developing Robin van Persie dominating the competition as a youngster.
Some of the greatest players to ever play the beautiful game have never had the honour of winning the World Cup. Müller’s got his, time will tell if Rodriguez, Neymar, Messi and van Persie get another shot at glory in 2018.