Any boy or girl who starts kicking a ball dreams of one day hearing the Champions League anthem. Liverpool and Villarreal will meet at Anfield on Wednesday for the first leg of the semi-finals (9pm, Movistar Champions League), two teams made up of players who have had to take on class resistance. football worker to make a career and be able to raise theear. The stories of four footballers show that sometimes football gives you back what you give it.
Villarreal took the last Europa League after defeating Manchester United on penalties. The yellow submarine unleashed a tide of this color on the city: more than 50,000 people followed the bus celebrating a historic triumph. Villarreal is the smallest town to win a continental trophy. The procession went through the streets where Pau Torres had grown up. “It’s amazing to see my grandparents on the balcony and raise the glass for them to see. Not everyone can play for their village team and win a final,” the center said after the celebration. At the age of 15, his tibia and fibula broke and his future collapsed. But the club’s confidence in Torres has led him to be part of the modern central paradigm. “I like everything about Pau: he’s tall, handsome, a good boy and he has a good game reading,” Luis Enrique once said. more complicated tests of his career.
Road and dust to the elite
Mohamed Salah will make it so. Unlike Torres, he began boarding the bus to pursue his dreams. Salah was born in Nagrib, at the mouth of the Nile. From his hometown, and at just 12 years old, he had to travel by public transportation for five hours on unpaved roads to Cairo, where he played with The Mokawloon. He repeated this path six to seven times a week. Years later, with the outbreak of the Arab Spring, Salah signed for Basel. His good performances led him to José Mourinho’s Chelsea, but the coach never stopped trusting him. Salah had to leave for Italy to show his talent: he is now one of the best strikers in the world.
Andrew Robertson, like Salah, is also one of Liverpool’s starters. Born in Scotland, Celtic ruled him out because he was too young. At the time, no one imagined him becoming a professional player. No one but him. His parents tried to show him off and in 2012 he promised that if he did not get a full-time contract with a team in the coming months, he would focus on college. At the time, he combined semi-professional football with one-off jobs. He spent some time working at Hampden Park, the stadium where the Scottish national team plays its matches. He cleaned tables, scrubbed the floor, and acted as an usher. He lamented on Twitter (“Life without money at this age sucks #necessitounafeina”). In a Scotland-Belgium match, he accompanied Vincent Kompany, a visiting player and Manchester City captain, to his seat. Five years later he would win the Premier League. “One of the best things about football is that there are a lot of players like me, who may not be as talented but we can reach the elite because we are hardworking,” Robertson said after winning the title.
The Scottish winger will face Arnaut Danjuma. The yellow striker was born in Lagos and emigrated to the Netherlands shortly afterwards. When he was four, his parents divorced, and he and his two siblings stayed with their mother. The economic situation was extreme and they often went to foster families. “We didn’t have a house and we tried to sleep in friends’ houses. When we had nowhere to go, we had to sleep in the car,” the striker revealed on the website of his former Bournemouth team. Football has given Danjuma a comfort he did not expect when he was a child. However, his gestures explain that he does not forget his origins. “At PSV everyone had big cars and big houses. I was going to train train. With everything I had experienced, it was the most normal thing for me,” Danjuma recalled.
“I had a lot of respect for Unai Emery and Villarreal, but now that I’ve analyzed them I’ve been impressed,” Jürgen Klopp told a pre-match press conference. Emery, after eliminating Juventus and Bayern Munich, regretted losing the “surprise factor”. The faith of the players has led Liverpool and Villarreal one step closer to the final. He yellow submarine will be performed in the city of the Beatles, where Klopp’s Liverpool usually beat their rivals with rhythms more typical of the Rolling Stones.