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These 20 Footballers Came From Nowhere

Failed, banished, imprisoned, unnoticed



20 remarkable fates of players who came from the sinking

Socrates - Brasiliens vergessener Fußball-Held.
They were gone. Failed, banished, disappeared, trapped. Or: they were lacing up their boots in places where nobody took any notice of them. On dusty amateur pitches or empty stadiums in the middle of nowhere. This article is about fairy-tale careers of footballers that started with little hope of making it big – and who got their happy end after all. These stories are Hollywood standard!

It’s the stories that start sometime in the youth team when football stars mature under the posters of the stars – and then it somehow does nothing. The school, the job, the study suddenly lie between themselves and the great career. Another talent, already in the youth of the stature of a boxer, begins to make nonsense, lands behind bars. A footballer dream cannot be more broken. Then the miraculous turn – over Oberliga or Regionalliga back to professional business and overnight but still at the top. This is a path that our nobodies take.

Then there are those who, according to their admission, “never wanted to become a pro,” who are content with a well-endowed “decent” job. The nice guys next door, the top league kickers, who are still going to church before leaving for the away game and who are more than comfortable with the warmth of their nests and their regular livelihood from the glamorous world of the shrill professional business.

Police instructors, car salesmen, prospective lawyers – for them, the professional football seems to be just a dream, about which one casually speaks while moving in the cabin at the amateur or leisure team. “Did you see Bayern on TV last night?” or “As good as 1860 Munich currently plays, I could also compete”. And then, for some, the opportunity arises; they are suddenly in the big names in the team.


Football and its critics can tear a player...

ISPO München 1974, Werner Liebrich (li.) und Helmut Rahn, Weltmeister von 1954. ,,Boss" Rahn wurde mit dem Rummel um das ,,dritte Tor" nie wirklich fertig..
ISPO München 1974, Werner Liebrich (li.) und Helmut Rahn, Weltmeister von 1954ISPO Munich 1974 Werner Liebrich left and Helmut Rahn World Champion from 1954
Young professionals in football easily adjust to being successful. This is especially common for those who make it to the peak of their careers at a young age since they only have to depend on their laurels and change clubs as often as they breathe.

This is however not always true for older footballers-critics are always on to them and leaves them always on their toes trying to convince all and sundry of their football skills. An example is a prominent German player who had to flee from the Bundesliga to cope with professional football. He was just three leagues for a while efore becoming famous. Thus, the problem is sometimes more intense when already successful and for others, always the same.

What draws a lot of people to professional football is money, fame, and women. This, however, is often the beginning of the end. We have seen a prominent English footballer who was imprisoned for drunkenness. Even a German world champion has seen how stale the glory can taste and lots of other world champions for who football was only a means to an end – huge income dubious wheelwrights and association with famous people.

For this collection, we classified them into four categories:

  1. Players whose talent was misjudged – and who made it to the top by detours
  2. Footballers who kicked only in the amateur area or came as a lateral entrant up
  3. Professionals who were considered as a failure and succeeded in proving otherwise
  4. Players who already had a big name as a professional fell from top to bottom and came back

Category 1: Players whose talents were disregarded but still made it to the top

20. Lars Leese: From Dealership to Anfield Road

„I met you before somewhere!“ – Gladbach-Manager Jupp Heynckes (l.) and  Lars Leese, in 2006.
BERGISCH GLADBACH, GERMANY - JULY - 5: Jupp Heynckes (L) Coach of Borussia and Lars Leese, Coach of Bergisch Gladbach during a friendly game between Borussia Monchengladbach and SSG 09 Bergisch Gladbach at the BELKAW Arena on July 5, 2006 in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. (Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images)
This is the story of a goalkeeper form Rhineland, who became a “Mister Cinderella” overnight in England. It has been published by Ronald Reng as  ‘The Dream Watcher’ in 2002; a bestseller because it tells an unimaginable true and relative story of every amateur footballer’s dream.

Lars Leese was regarded as a 3rd goalkeeper in Bayer Leverkusen and could not make a single Bundesliga match for the 1996/97 season. He made a dramatic turnaround when he made it to the Premier League at FC Barnsley in 1997. It was a surprise to everyone, and he was able to garner 1.97million fans with just 18 league appearances. A local writer in Barnsley even dedicated a poem to him.

Lars Leese, now 48 years old has a poetic lifestyle. He has worked as a car salesman in Westerwald, where he took his first career steps in Neitersen. His biggest accomplishment was “The Dreamcatcher” in 1997/98 at Anfield in Liverpool where the German goalkeeper drives a star striker to despair. It was unbelievable even to himself. In his own words: “I climbed out of the ashes like a phoenix, from the county league into the Premier League; then, I had some encounters which gave me an opportunity to play a decisive role towards such a great win.”

The Premier League adventure came to an end with a decent in 1999. Years later, he said, “ I practically disappeared; I dreamt of playing for Prussia Cologne, Borussia Mönchengladbach II FC Cologne II and ended up playing in Liverpool.”


19. Carsten Linke: The "football god" who came from the district class

One of the favourites of the crowd - Carsten Linke.
GERMANY - OCTOBER 01: FUSSBALL: DFB - Pokal/Hannover 96 am 01.10.97, Carsten LINKE (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

There are players who have played for a lifetime without being noticed and Carsten Linke, currently aged 54 almost became one!

Until 1988 right after his 22nd birthday, the defensive allrounder played for fun at Vfl Bad Zwischenahn in Ammerland. More football province was unachievable for him until his leap into the 2nd league in late 1988. He late played for FC Homburg, a two-time first division club form Saarland in 1993 although he was no longer a fiddle in German professional football by then.

Linke crossed over to 1st FC Saarbrücken in 1995 and Hannover in 96. He was relegated to the Regionalliga, returned to the second league and finally in 2002, got promoted to Bundesliga under s a certain Ralf Rangnick.

After a total of 314 games in the lower leagues for the trio of Oldenburg, Homburg, and Hannover where he mostly played as a center-back left, he made his first Bundesliga Debut at 36. On 11th August 2002, he became the fifth oldest Debutant in league history at a 1:2 game in Hamburg. He was nicknamed the ‘football god’ by his fans from Hannover ’96 and retired in 2003 after 15 first division appearances and a goal in 2: 2 against VfL Bochum.

18. Nicholas Feldhahn: even Bayern Munich has fairy tales

Nicolas Feldhahn im Dress von Kickers Offenbach.
Bildnummer: 13122368 Datum: 28.07.2012 Copyright: imago/Jan Huebner 28.07.2012, 3.Liga, Offenbacher Kickers - VfB Stuttgart U23, v.l. Nicolas Feldhahn (Offenbacher Kickers) genttaeuscht, enttaeuscht schauend, dissapointed FOTO: JAN HUEBNER ; kbdig 2012 quer Action Aktion Calcio Deutschland Euro Fotball Fussball Futbol Germany Le Football Saison 2012/13 VoetballImage number 13122368 date 28 07 2012 Copyright imago Jan Huebner 28 07 2012 3 League Offenbacher Kickers VfB Stuttgart U23 v l Nicolas Feldhahn Offenbacher Kickers DISAPPOINTED looking Photo Jan Huebner Kbdig 2012 horizontal Action Action shot Calcio Germany Euro Fotball Football Futbol Germany Le Football Season 2012 13
Do you think Bayern Munich is ice-cold football machinery with a thick deposit account? The law student Nicolas Feldhahn, 32, has proven even record champions and industry giants all have a story behind their fame.

Feldhahn studied law at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich while he also plays football.  He received a professional contract offer from the former SpVgg Unterhaching in 2004 which became obsolete when he joined second league Hechinger. His second professional station near Erzgebirge Aue is a descent to the football lower house for him. It was after that that the defensive midfielder moved to Werder Bremen II and later Vfl Osnabruck, both in the third league.  In summer 2015, the former 1860 Munchen Junior player made a surprising career turnaround when the opportunity to dissolve his contract with Osnabruck and sign an amateur one with Bayern Munich arose. He returned to Munich his hometown and rose to limelight after  EURO 2016.

In the Supercup final against Borussia Dortmund, he was brought in to the squad by the new Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti and took the cup at the game-n reception. “it was a gigantic feeling,” he later tells the BILD newspaper. In April 2017, Ancelotti took him once again – to the Champions League quarter-final to Madrid.

17. Hendrik Weygandt: a miracle in Weserstadion

The miracle from Weserstadion.
Torschuetze Hendrik WEYDANDT (li., H) jubelt mit Waldemar ANTON (mi., H) und Kevin WIMMER (H) ueber sein erstes Tor in der Bundesliga zum 1:0 fuer Hannover 96, Jubel, jubeln, jubelnd, Freude, cheers, celebrate, Torjubel, halbe Figur, Halbfigur, Gestik, Geste, Fussball 1. Bundesliga, 1. Spieltag, Werder Bremen (HB) - Hannover 96 (H) 1:1, am 25.08.2018 in Bremen/ Deutschland. Â *** Goalkeeper Hendrik WEYDANDT li H cheers with Waldemar ANTON mi H and Kevin WIMMER H over his first goal in the Bundesliga to 1 0 for Hannover 96 cheering jubilation joy cheers celebrate goal celebrations half figure half-length Gesture gesture Soccer 1 Bundesliga 1 matchday Werder Bremen HB Hannover 96 H 1 1 on 25 08 2018 in Bremen Germany Â
In reality, you are what you have already become as a footballer. You are no longer on any scouts’ list, and no great coach is ready to sweat over you. This was the same for Hendrik Weygandt (23). The top scorer of the men’s team of TSV Groß Munzel (Lower Saxony) would have earned in multiples with his 23 goals in 25 appearances at the county league Hannover-Land (Season 3).

At 1 FC Germania Egestorf / Langreder, the striker tried his best with 41 goals in 97 games before Hannover signed him up to the second team which played in the Regionlaliga Nord. After that, he received an amateur contract extending to 2020. Andre Breitenreiter brought him to the professional league when he placed him in the first round cup in the 6:0 game at Karlsruher SC. The “Contract Sever,” who has earned 400 euros per month until May, makes more than just attention with two hits.

On 25th August 2018, Weygandt stands at the Bundesliga kick-off at Werder Bremen (1: 1) in Hanover’s professional squad. He performed a new miracle in Weserstadion when he scored the first goal for “The Reds” just 81 seconds after he was substituted for Takuma Asano. There are only a few players who have performed such a feat in their Bundesliga debut. With two goals in 5 Bundesliga games, he got a professional contract in September 2018.

16. Miroslav Klose: Long live football province!

Miroslav Klose started out as freshman at Kaisersalautern.
KAISERSLAUTERN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 05: 1. BUNDESLIGA 02/03, Kaiserslautern; 1. FC KAISERSLAUTERN - FC ENERGIE COTTBUS; 1:0 TOR JUBEL Miroslav KLOSE/Kaiserslautern (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Nobody should revile this football Palatinate! 5 German World Champions from 1954 under US legend and World Cup captain Tom Dooley (1994), and two others from the successful German World Cup squad from 2014. In addition to this, the native Pirmasenser Erik Durm of Borussia Dortmund crowned the  Palatinate Miroslav Klose in 2014 with the world title unbelievable career.

Klose’s rise, according to the BILD football newspaper– is the “most famous fairy tale” in the history of German football. He played at  Bezirksliga Westpfalz near Blaubach-Diedelkopf, a regional league in Homburg – and until 1999, this seems to be the world of the Polish-born striker. Coach Grandseigneur Otto Rehhagel was at FC Kaiserslautern before fetching Klose from FC Homburg. On 15 April 2000, “King Otto” Klose joins the Bundesliga match against Eintracht Frankfurt for the first time. In 4 years at FCK, Klose had 44 goals in 120 league games and was a delight with his somersault goal which got lots of jubilations from fans on Betzenberg.

What only a few know: On March 24, 2001, the silent Miro in Leverkusen in the World Cup qualifier against Albania made his international debut for Germany – and finished it with the 2-1 winner and a somersault. Klose will be the vice-world champion in Asia a year later with the team that rejects the broadcast of Mehmet Scholl, who is not participating in the 2002 World Cup. Until his departure after the 2014 World Cup, he was next to Pelé and Uwe Seeler, the player who meets in 4 different World Cup finals.

After two times 3rd place at the home World Cup 2006 and 2010 in South Africa, Klose and “The Team” on 13 July 2014 finished 1-0 against Argentina in extra time and emerged as World Champion! Klose gets in the semifinals against Brazil (7: 1) on 8 July 2015 with his 16th goal at a World Cup a record for eternity. Incidentally, the late developer never listened to a junior national team of the DFB!

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