Doha, 7 November 2017. Under the motto “My Experience” former Brazilian footballer and FC Bayern Munich striker Giovane Elber, who is currently at Aspire Academy as part of a collaboration with Allianz, shared his experience with the student-athletes in a Q&A session in the Academy’s auditorium on Tuesday.
He told them about his beginnings in Brazil, where he played football with his friends on the streets and that he, like other great Brazilian football stars such as Ronaldo or Ronaldinho, initially used to play indoor football before joining a football club that played on a real pitch. “Shortly after that I was called up for Brazil’s U17 national team and before I was 18, I signed a contract with AC Milan, which was a huge step for me.” The young Brazilian was aware he would not have the chance to play for the Italian giant right away, since by that time only three foreign players were allowed on the game sheet and with players such as Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard in front of him, the teenager was well aware that we would be sent out on loan.
Coming to Switzerland to play for Grasshoppers Zurich, he felt the hard reality of being a football player. “It was cold, the sun went down in the afternoon, the food was different, I was so homesick that I wanted to quit playing football. But my mum set me straight. She said that I had given up a good job in Brazil in order to fulfill my dream of becoming a professional footballer and that coming back was not an option. After that I pulled myself together, started learning German and that helped me a lot, because I could not only communicate better with my coach and my teammates, I also earned their respect, which was very important for my integration in the team.”
Elber, who went on to play very successfully for VfB Stuttgart and FC Bayern Munich in Germany, where he won multiple big titles such as championships, cups or the UEFA Champions League, went on to answer questions coming from students and Aspire staff. He concluded with a very meaningful statement: “Talent alone is never enough. It’s the hard work that you put in every day that eventually pays off. But being a professional footballer is tough and demands a lot from you. You have to be focused and mentally strong in order to get to the top. Here at Aspire you have great opportunities. Now you have to give your best and then you will benefit from it.”
Elber is currently in Doha accompanying the young Sri Lankan footballer Jehan Joseph Crishantha Atapattu, who is currently spending a week training at Aspire Academy after winning a much-coveted “Good Sportsmanship Award” during the Allianz Junior Football Camp (AJFC) Asia in Bali in August 2017.