5 footballers who started their careers late

Experts believe that to excel in sport, it should be practised at an early age. This is justified – if young athletes start participating in competitions at an early age, by about 16 or 17 years they have enough experience to start performing at the same level as high-class professionals. But some athletes started football late, and it did not prevent them from becoming great successes.

Jan Koller, Czech Republic, forward

Czech’s path in football did not pan out from the start – in 19 years he went to a preview in the Dukla, but the club’s coach believed that Jan was not physically ready, as the player quickly lost time and did not keep up with peers. Koller was not awarded a contract and joined the army.

During his service, Jan worked as a cook and learned to be an auto mechanic. On his return, the guy went to work at a friend’s car service, where he also slept. Koller did not forget about football and trained with amateurs. The young man’s life changed after he was spotted by Sparta Prague during one of their matches. The capital club signed the athlete for a fee of 100,000 crowns, which was divided equally between all the members of the Czech’s former team.

He has travelled to France, Belgium and Russia, but the high point of his career was playing for Borussia Dortmund, where he won the German championship and was a finalist in the UEFA Cup in 2002. Borussia Dortmund continue to compete for the major trophies in European and German football even without Koller – you can place your bets on the Bumblebees’ fixtures with one of the bookmakers listed at

Miroslav Klose, Germany, forward

The future German world champion was born into a sporting family. His father was a former footballer and his mother a handball player. Despite this, Miroslav’s parents wanted him to become a worker. In their opinion, such a profession would have given him bread and wouldn’t have left him on the street. As a child, Klose attended carpentry classes, learning to carve wood and use machinery. It was only between classes that the future sportsman attended football school.

Whilst studying carpentry, Klose played for the Blaubach-Diedelkopf from Germany’s seventh strongest division. It was not until he was 21 that the player was spotted by Homburg who signed him. During the season, Miroslav scored 11 goals. For the German forward, sending the ball into the opponents’ goal was no more difficult than laying bricks. As a result, Miroslav is the top goalscorer in the history of the World Cup and Germany’s national team. During his career, Klose played for Kaiserslautern, Werder, Bayern and Lazio in more than 600 games and scored 283 goals.

Yacine Bammou, France, forward

Before his professional career, Bammou played for university and amateur teams. At the same time, he went on loan to local teams and worked in the PSG club shop. In his job, Yassin regularly met famous footballers and dreamed of facing them on the pitch one day.

One day, fortune smiled on him – Bammou was taken to the second team of Nantes. After playing there for a year, the athlete got a chance to play for the main team. In the first game, 30 seconds after coming on as a substitute, the forward scored the winning goal.

Peter Schmeichel, Denmark, goalkeeper

As a child, Peter was fond of music and dreamed of a rock star career. Football was only ever a hobby, and he didn’t train as hard as he rehearsed. Peter later took a job at a factory, where he was soon promoted to advertising manager, and he gave little thought to a career as a professional player. 

Schmeichel’s life changed at the age of 22: he quit his job and ended up at Vidrove, a club that played in Denmark’s top flight. He then joined Brondby, the four-time Danish champions, before being invited to join Manchester United. What happened next is already history. At the English club, Peter won everything he could, including 5 EPL titles, winning the 1998/99 Champions League, being named European goalkeeper of the year four times and becoming European champion with Denmark in 1992.

Dado Prjo, Croatia, forward

As a schoolboy, the Croatian came into the Hajduk system. But not for long. During a medical check-up, Pršo was diagnosed by doctors with heart rhythm problems, due to which his contract was terminated. The striker had to move to France, where he played for an amateur club and worked in an auto shop.

Almost desperate, Prchaux received an offer from Monaco. The team wanted him to see the head coach Jean Tigana, whose expectations were met – the player helped “Monaco” become the champion of France and played for the club for another 7 years. After he departed from the team, the striker developed problems with his knees. Despite this, he played three seasons for Glasgow Rangers before ending his career due to health issues.


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