Demba Ba, a Chelsea legend, recounts being turned down by Gillingham and Barnsley when he was a poor adolescent begging for money to eat.
Demba Ba, a former Chelsea striker, said that his initial contract was valued just £900 per month and that he was rejected by a number of British clubs when he was a youngster.
The Senegalese international, who was born in Paris, had a rocky start in professional football.
Ba began his career in France, earning a £900-per-month contract with Rouen in the fourth division.
However, he recalls needing to borrow money just to eat for the first month.
“My first contract at Rouen (in the French fourth division) was for €1,063 net per month, and I had to borrow €300 for groceries in the first month,” Ba told The Athletic.
As a youth, Ba had trials with Watford, Barnsley, Swansea, and Gillingham, but was never offered a contract.
According to the 36-year-old, the teams believed they already had players like him in the lineup.
“Ninety percent of the time, the answer I got was, ‘We already have the same quality of player in the group,'” he stated.
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They were unaware that I was training twice a week with amateurs rather than six times a week with pros at the time.
“I was told, ‘You’re not good enough,’ but I didn’t want to hear that; instead, I want to hear, ‘You’re not good enough for me.’
“I just wouldn’t give up.” I recall writing handwritten letters to the top 40 clubs in France, requesting a trial.
“I never considered rejection; I only considered the next opportunity.”
Despite the early rejection, Ba would go on to have a great career in England, playing for West Ham, Newcastle, and Chelsea after making a name for himself at Hoffenheim.
Despite the fact that the forward did not win any major awards at any of his three clubs, he was a prolific goal scorer.
Before joining Besiktas in Turkey in 2014, Ba scored 50 goals in 122 outings for the English club.
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