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A young Lionel Messi, and Alex Morgan, superimposed in action on stadium pitch, BEFORE THEY WERE STARS in gold font above.

Before They Were Stars

How Messi, Alex Morgan, and Other Soccer Greats Rose to the Top

By (author) Illugi Jökulsson


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  • Learn how the top football stars of all time grew up and conquered the sport
Full Description

Learn how the top football stars of all time grew up and conquered the sport. This guide follows fourteen of the best men’s and women’s players from their first childhood encounter with association football – whether at the school gym or a pickup game in a vacant lot – to their first appearance in a top-division match or their first international cap. For every one of them, it was a journey with its share of both tragedy and triumph. Did you know that . . .

. . . as a boy, Pelé practiced with a newspaper-stuffed sock or a grapefruit, because he couldn’t afford a proper football?. . . Mia Hamm discovered the sport of football as a toddler in Florence, Italy, where her father, a U.S. Air Force pilot, was stationed?

. . . at age ten, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency that threatened to end his football career – until Barça offered to pay for his treatment?

Illustrated with rare photos of stars-to-be on and off the field, Before They Were Stars is sure to entertain and inspire any budding soccer legend. Fans can learn more about their favourite players with other World Soccer Legends series books, such as Stars of Women’s Soccer: 2nd Edition, Stars of World Soccer, Neymar, Messi, and Alex Morgan.

About the Author
Illugi Jökulsson is a journalist, editor, and author based in Iceland.
Abbeville Press
1st Jul 2020
World excluding USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia
279 mm x 219 mm
64 Pages
Name of series
World Soccer Legends
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