The ball boys who went on to become famous football stars

By Michael Duah
The ball boys who went on to become famous football stars
The ball boys who went on to become famous football stars

Most footballers have humble beginnings and being a ball boy at the club you support, or even play for in the academy, is common amongst future stars.

However, football wouldn’t be anywhere near as fast-paced a sport without them.

As soon as the ball goes out of play, it’s their job to give either the same ball or a different ball back to one of the players as quickly as possible.

On the whole, they do an excellent job. However, there have been a few memorable examples of biased ball boys failing to give the opposition the ball quick enough because the home team is winning or has some other sort of advantage.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard was shown a straight red card for kicking Swansea City ball boy Charlie Morgan during a League Cup match in January 2013. Morgan fell on top of the ball and the frustrated Belgian, in an attempt to retrieve the ball, inadvertently hurt the lad.

But these incidents are extremely rare. Ball boys and girls operate in every match and, by and large, there are virtually no problems.

Certain clubs will use players from their youth academies as ball boys on match days.

And some of these players have gone on to become famous footballers themselves.

PrimeNewsGhana takes a look at several photos showing ball boys who went on to become football stars in their own right years later.

Brahim Diaz, Isco and Santi Carzola

The Spanish teenager, who completed his move to Real Madrid from Manchester City at the weekend, can be seen here watching on as Isco and Santi Cazorla celebrates scoring a goal for Malaga.

Diaz, now 19, was a youth player at Malaga between 2010 and 2013.p1d0pqqklg1m3f1tme8nc1ndp5pl9.jpg Raúl González and Manolo Sánchez Delgado

It is a little-known fact that Real Madrid legend Raul actually started his career at Atletico Madrid but left the club to join city rivals as a kid, due to the closure of Atletico's youth academy at the time.

Nonetheless, he did still manage to meet Manolo, a goalscoring hero for Los Colchoneros in the late 1980s. Manolo also managed to score goals for the Spanish national team but was surpassed by Raul, who went on to become arguably the greatest striker Spain has ever produced. Wesley Sneijder and Frank Rijkaard

Wesley Sneijder joined Ajax’s youth academy in 1991, when he was just seven years old.

The attacking midfielder, who went on to represent the Dutch national team 131 times, can be seen here alongside the great Frank Rijkaard.CARLOS TEVEZ

A Boca Juniors man through and through, Carlos Tevez poses alongside a very youthful-looking Juan Roman Riquelme at some point during the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Tevez made his professional debut with Boca in 2001 before leaving the Bombonera in 2004. He briefly returned in 2015 and then came back for a third spell last year.

Like Riquelme, Tevez returned to La Bombonera after a successful career in Europe, although his time In England and Italy was far more fruitful than Riquelme's five years in La Liga. Mateo Kovacic and Steven Gerrard

If Steven Gerrard knew the young lad next to him would go on to play for Real Madrid, he might have actually acknowledged him.

Kovacic, who is currently on loan at Chelsea, tried to get Gerrard’s attention after a Champions League match but didn’t appear to have much luck.

Gerrard rejected Kovacic's request to shake hands and ironically, the now Real Madrid midfielder was heavily linked with a move to Anfield to replace the former club captain when he moved to the MLS.p1d0pqvl0g1s0g13d7umd11vu1oguh.jpgIAGO ASPAS

Iago Aspas watches his beloved Celta Vigo in action against AS Roma.

The striker, who endured a disappointing spell with Liverpool a few years back, is now 31 years old and a Celta legend.p1d0pr1ipk1j5d1k85trgd6q1kj5j.jpg Andrés D'Alessandro and Enzo Francescoli

A wonderkid during the early 2000s - Championship Manager fans will remember him well - Andres D'Alessandro is seen here alongside Enzo Francescoli while at River Plate.

Fun fact: Zinedine Zidane named his first son after Francescoli, who was a wonderful footballer.Arda Turan and Gheorghe Hagi

Gheorghe Hagi, the Romanian playmaker, had already conquered Real Madrid and Barcelona by the time he arrived in Turkey to end his career with Galatasaray. Despite being in the twilight of his career, Hagi brought glory to the Istanbul side, leading them to four titles and the UEFA Cup.

Turan came through the ranks at Galatasaray and witnessed Hagi playing whilst a ballboy. The Barcelona midfielder developed as one of the finest Turkish talents during five seasons at the Turk Telekom Arena before moving to La Liga. 

ALVARO MORATA

Like Raul, Alvaro Morata started out in Atletico’s youth ranks before joining Real Madrid.

The Spanish striker, who is currently with Chelsea, can be seen here alongside some of his pals at the time.p1d0pr5b2n12kg18j2kpimv95gdp.jpg Josep Guardiola and Víctor Muñoz

A true Barcelona legend, Victor spent seven long years at the Nou Camp, winning a La Liga title and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in that time, and becoming a fans' favourite for his tireless displays in midfield.

Sound familiar? Pep Guardiola took on a similar path, but went on to achieve far more than Victor. The tenacious midfielder won considerable titles as a player but defined himself as a master of the game from the dugout. 

Patrick Kluivert and Marco van Basten

Prior to his big move to AC Milan, Marco van Basten first came to prominence for his outrageous goalscoring exploits for Ajax and as a child in the club's esteemed youth system, Patrick Kluivert was photographed with his idol.

Kluivert himself went on to become the club's leading striker and helped them secure domestic and continental success. Both players are considered two of the most talented Dutch strikers in history. 

Read also: January transfer window 2019 closed: The hits and misses

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