It is one thing to play soccer at the highest level, but it is another to enjoy incredible success while playing for the very best clubs on the planet in the process. These six players have lived the dream and played for the best clubs in the world.

By 90Min
March 25, 2018

You can be anything, do anything.

It is one thing to play football at the highest level, but it is another to enjoy incredible success while playing for the very best clubs on the planet in the process.

It is all the sweeter if that has come at the price of hard work and sacrifice, overcoming barriers or just creating history while doing it.

These six players have lived the dream and played for the best clubs in the world.


Arjen Robben

The Dutch star played for three of the best teams in the world this century in Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich and has won major trophies and league titles with all three.

Robben will soon collect his seventh Bundesliga title as a Bayern player, the 19th major honor of his distinguished career, having earlier won trophies with PSV Eindhoven back home in the Netherlands, but it could have been so different.

Not only did Robben acquire an unfortunate reputation for having 'glass ankles' at one point in his career as a result of difficulties with injuries, he also overcame a major health scare after requiring surgery to treat testicular cancer when he was just 20 years old.

Carlos Tevez

Maurizio Lagana/GettyImages

Escaping poverty, violence and a potential life of crime in one of Buenos Aires' toughest barrios, Carlos Tevez became a home-grown hero when he began playing regularly for boyhood club Boca Juniors as a teenager in the early 2000s.

The young striker was badly scarred by a childhood scalding, but he's tasted success at virtually everywhere he's been to on a tour around some of the best clubs in the world.

When he got to England, Tevez became only the fourth Argentinean to win the Premier League and had three winner's medals with Manchester United and Manchester City by the time he went to Juventus. In Italy, he won many more trophies and his career has come full circle with a return to Boca from a difficult start in life.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez dreamed about becoming a footballer while growing up in the desolate mining town of Tocopilla in the north of Chile, but the street urchin who played barefoot in the streets has risen above the limits his life threatened to impose in order to achieve incredible things.

Picked up by Udinese scouts, the forward was loaned to Colo-Colo, Chile's biggest club, and River Plate, one half of Argentina's iconic Superclásico rivalry, before he'd even left South America.

Sanchez had the chance to join Barcelona in 2011 and then became a hero to Arsenal fans in the Premier League, before trading it all in and making the switch to Manchester United, English football's most successful ever team.


Watch Grant Wahl and Luis Miguel Echegaray provide expert soccer analysis every week on SI TV’s Planet Fútbol show.


Clarence Seedorf

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Clarence Seedorf was living the dream from the age of 16 when he became Ajax's youngest ever player and began playing regularly for his boyhood club, remarkably going on to win the Champions League within three years.

The Dutchman was signed by Real Madrid after a short spell in Italy and won his second Champions League title in 1998. He then transferred to Inter Milan, and later AC Milan where he won an unprecedented third Champions League with a third different club.

Every child dreams of turning out for Europe's biggest clubs and becoming a champion, but Seedorf made it a reality. After a second Champions League with Milan in 2007, he went to South America and landed at Botofogo, an historic club in Brazil.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Not many players have turned out for as many big clubs as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with Manchester United the seventh European giant he has played for in an illustrious career that still isn't over.

The enigmatic Swede came from humble beginnings in the notorious Malmo district of Rosengard. By his own admission he would often steal bikes around his neighborhood before knuckling down to focus on football and hone his natural talent and flair.

Having emerged at his home-town club, Zlatan got his big break at Ajax and later played for all of Italy's big three: Juventus, Inter and AC Milan, as well as Barcelona and PSG. He has encountered doubt throughout, but has always risen above it to write his own history.

David Beckham

Not blessed with the same natural gifts as youth team-mates Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, David Beckham worked incredibly hard every day in training to perfect his technique, often staying late to aim at a tire he would hang in the top corner of the goal.

For a period of around 10 years or more from the late 1990s, Beckham was arguably the best free-kick taker and crosser of the ball in the world with unbelievable accuracy and precision. He was also fitter than most of his colleagues and opponents, again due to all those extra hours.

Beckham became a superstar at Manchester United and went on to play for Real Madrid and AC Milan, the two most decorated clubs in the history of the European Cup. He was also a trailblazer in Major League Soccer with LA Galaxy and even found time to play for PSG.

 

 

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