Do you know there are ball boys who became famous? You know, ball boys are usually academy players. While they sit on the sidelines and throw the balls to the pitch for the professional players, they themselves are looking to build professional careers and play on those pitches. And well, many of them have succeeded.
Ball boys who became famous
So many guys have gone from being just ball boys to being famous footballers, and in this article, we will be taking a look at 10 of them.
1. Phil Foden
Foden is only 23, but he is slowly establishing himself as one of the best players in the world. I mean, Pep, who has managed the likes of Messi, Xavi, Lewandowski, Robben, Ribery, De Bruyne, and Iniesta, said that Phil Foden is the most talented player he had ever seen. Surely, there must be something about this lad.
But did you know he started out just sitting on the sidelines with his arms folded just watching on? No literally.
How it started How it’s going pic.twitter.com/QUfHqjxuAP— Phil Foden (@PhilFoden) February 7, 2021
Two years ago, after Foden helped Man City thump Liverpool with that wonder of a goal, he went on Twitter to celebrate with a little throwback. He posted two pictures. The one on the right was him scoring the worldie, while the one on the left was where he started out – as a ball boy on the sidelines.
That was back in 2013.
And then from sitting on the floor by the touchline, 3 years later, he was sitting on the City bench in a Champions League game. And well, the rest, as they say, is history.
But do you know that the man who gave Foden his chance in 2016 also had the same trajectory as him?
2. Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola was one of the best players for Barcelona during his days, captaining the side for years. He was the Sergio Busquets before Sergio Busquets. But did you know that even this great player and manager started out as a humble ball boy on the sidelines?
He was a member of the famous Barcelona La Masia academy. And while he was there, he had to be on ball boy duties a number of times. You can see little Pep celebrating Barcelona’s trophies with the big players back then in the 80s.
3. Bernardo Silva
The skillful left-footer whom Pep cannot seem to drop these days was also a ball boy in his younger days. But no, not for Man City, for his boyhood club, Benfica.
He was famously on the sidelines for a big Europa League clash between Benfica and Napoli back in 2008. But can we just take a minute to admire how cute little Bernardo Silva looked in that Benfica jersey? He was just so adorable! Who knew he would grow up to be this really lethal, dangerous player he is right now?
4. Carlos Tevez
Even the Argentinian legend, Carlos Tevez, was once on the sidelines throwing balls onto the pitch. He started out as a ball boy, not for Man City, not for Man United, not even for any club in Europe, but for Boca Juniors back in his home country of Argentina. This was Carlos Tevez back in the 90s before he made his debut with Boca Juniors.
5. Callum Hudson-Odoi
Hudson-Odoi is one of the players on this list who was a ball boy not so long ago. Well, he is only 21 and made his first team debut for Chelsea in 2018, so that should not be very surprising.
His famous appearance as a ball boy came in 2014 when a certain Samuel Eto’o scored a hattrick against Chelsea’s bitter rivals, Manchester United. And how did the Cameroonian decide to celebrate completing his hat trick? With the ball boy on the touchline who just happened to be Callum Hudson-Odoi!
Crazy, right? It’s like Eto’o was passing some sort of anointing to the little ball boy. And you could just tell that Odoi was just over the moon. He couldn’t believe what was happening to him. I mean, see the look on his face. Absolutely elated.
6. Mateo Kovacic
Kovacic was a ball boy back in the 2000s, and on one of those days when he was on duty as a ball boy, he approached Steven Gerrard but was completely ignored.
And no, that does not mean that he was a ball boy for Liverpool. Kovacic was still in Croatia back then, but his club faced Liverpool in the Champions League and he just really wanted the superstar midfielder to notice him. Well, fast forward to today and he is a superstar himself and has 4 Champions League titles.
7. Alvaro Morata
Another guy with Chelsea links who started out as a ball boy. Alvaro Morata has spent most of his career going back and forth from the Madrid clubs. And even right now, although he’s at Juventus, he’s still an Atletico player. And his youth career was the same. Morata spent his entire youth career in Madrid clubs, so we will leave you to guess which of the Madrid clubs he was a ball boy for.
Anyway, Morata is not the only player in Juventus who started out as a ball boy. Their superstar center-back also did.
8. Matthijs de Ligt
You know de Ligt started out in Ajax. We all witnessed that amazing Ajax run in the 2018/19 season when Matthijs de Ligt was the team captain.
Well, before then, he was in the Ajax academy and was a ball boy at a couple of matches. As a matter of fact, the starstruck de Ligt even managed to get a photo with Luis Suarez who was a player at Ajax at the time.
9. Donny van de Beek
You may have forgotten how influential VDB was for Ajax back then because of how much time he spent on the Man United bench, but the lad was a phenomenon at Ajax. And he, just like his former captain, was also a ball boy and even got a picture with the club’s legend, Luis Suarez. And are you surprised that he also started out at Ajax, too?
10. Wesley Sneijder
Sneijder was an excellent football player in his days, winning the European treble and leading his country to the World Cup final all in 2010 alone. But before all this success the legend went on to enjoy, he started out just sitting by the touchlines and throwing balls into the pitch.
And before he became a legend himself, he was already rolling with legends. You can see him holding a ball and being held by Frank Rijkaard, the Dutch footballing legend who won the Champions League as both player and manager. Little did that ball boy know that he was going to go on to take over the world.
There are more guys who have gone from being ball boys to taking over the world of football.
Raul Gonzalez, Philipp Lahm, Fabio Cannavaro…can you continue the list in the comments?