Doha: Former Brazil and Bayern Munich striker Giovane Elber shared his experiences with the student-athletes at Aspire Academy on Tuesday.
At the session, titled “My Experience,” aimed to inspire student-athletes and motivate them to achieve their full potential, Elber spoke about his journey as a professional footballer.
Top officials from the Academy, including Deputy Director General of Aspire Academy Ali Salem Afifa School Principal Jassim Al Jaber, coaches and teachers joined the students at the session.
Elber joined Brasileiro Série B club Londrina Esporte Clube at the age of 10 before his glowing talent led him to the top teams in Europe.
“I had to work very hard to get to the level I was at that age, and I did everything I could to improve my skills. I was lucky to be given the chance to play in European leagues, becoming the first Brazilian footballer under 18 to play professional football internationally.
“Growing up, I lived and breathed football. I would exercise outside for long hours and train in a youth sports academy similar to Aspire Academy three to four times a week. Only those of us who had the willpower, persistence and commitment were able to go far in their football career and achieve their dreams,” he continued.
“When I first moved to Italy, it was so surreal to see all the football stars I used to watch on television on the same pitches with me. It was at that moment that I realised I there is nowhere else I’d rather be.”
Elber also highlighted the importance of teamwork, noting that his key to success with VfB Stuttgart and later with FC Bayern Munich was to work become a successful team player and support the team playing as one.
Praising Aspire Academy, Elber said: “I think you have the best sports academy in the world. It looks like a dream from what I’ve seen during my visit. This academy is your ticket to the top and this opportunity is not available for everyone. We would’ve dreamed to have something like this in Brazil when I was growing up. Use this chance to fulfil your dreams of becoming top players. Being a professional footballer was my dream. But football gave me much more than that. Football is more than sports, it brings people and cultures together.”