Ricardo Kaká was the youngest player in the world to win a World Cup back in 2002 when he was only 20, and this year he’s playing in his third World Cup! By 2007 he had won the FIFA World Player of the Year and joined the Real Madrid Team for a transfer fee of €65, at that time the second highest transfer fee in euros ever. In 2004, he became the youngest ambassador of the UN World Food Programme, and for his contributions “on and off the pitch,” Kaká was named in the Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people in 2008 and 2009. Kaká was the first sportsperson to amass 10 million followers on Twitter. (All my information on each of the players is directly from Wiki.)
“I have been through great moments in my career, and I have gone through hard moments as well, both in my career and my personal life. In all those moments I could count on God. In my prayers, and in the Bible, the word of God, with friends that share the same Faith as I do. To know that regardless of the situation, if its good or bad, that there is a God that loves us, and that makes the whole difference to me.
“I had no idea what playing for the national team was. You hear about it; you read about it. Now you put yourself in a position where you are ready to be criticized. Everything you do – good or bad – is going to be criticized and you are going to have someone say something about it. “I used to ask God so many times, ‘Why is this happening to me when I come to you, pray to you?’ So why is all this happening to me and everyone else is OK? What did I do to deserve this? For me it is always why. Stop with the why.” First of all I learned the biggest thing that you are not in control. No matter how much you try you are not in control of things that happen. If I did not have Jesus I would be lost. I would be completely lost.”
Claudemir Barreto, commonly known as “Cacau,” was born in Brazil but plays as a striker for Germany’s VfB Stuttgaft and has dual citizenship. He says he’s “100% Brazillian and 100% Germany.” He’s playing with Germany in this year’s World Cup.
In theprize interviews, Cacau says: “When I was 16 and playing for Palmeiras, I was not sure if I had a future there. … Up to then I had only really thought about football but the disappointment that my football life was not working out caused me to think about bigger questions. I talked to my brother about faith and about what the purpose of life was. I had always believed in God but without having a relationship with him. I knew I needed … God’s love and I decided to live my life for him.
“Many people think they have to perform to earn God’s love. He has shown me that the absolute opposite is the case and he accepts me just as I am. All he wants from me is that I give him my heart and my life. I am really thankful for that.”
Eyong Enoh is a Cameroonian football midfielder who currently plays in the Süper Lig for Antalyaspor on loan from AFC Ajax, and for the Cameroon national team. He is the vice-captain of the Cameroon national team, alongside Nicolas N’Koulou.
Enoh shares this: “Talking about pressure which we encounter, I believe this pressure is for everybody. I believe everyone at every level goes through some pressure. The same at different stages. Now for me personally having this pressure is just trusting the Lord. The Bible says “Cast your cares on him for he cares”. When I understand that the life I am living is no more my own. It is a life he has died for. He has exchanged his life for my life and has given me a life of peace and a life of joy to live for, then I live beyond myself. I live beyond what people say, beyond what people think. I focus more on what the Lord says about me.
“… a friend of mine from school spoke to me about the Lord Jesus. … and it just came to me like reality. He talked to my heart, he touched my heart and the gospel became very real to me. Ever since that day, I have just been in love with Jesus.”
Brad Guzan is an American who plays as a goalkeeper for English Premier League club Aston Villa, although he’s playing now for the United States’ national team. In 2007, Guzan was named MLS Goalkeeper of the year, and I just marvel at his God-given instincts and ability for blocking goals!
On Wikipedia, it says that Guzan is a Christian (I quote) and has spoken about his faith saying, “My personal life, my faith life and my sport life – they all come together. I think they have to. You don’t have one without the others, and you have to have Jesus in your life. That is how I get through my personal life, how I get through my professional life – following Christ. … we all need Christ in our lives. Money, fame, all those objects, they don’t mean anything if you don’t have Jesus in your life. All of those things can be gone in the blink of an eye. We can’t get caught up in it.”
“For bodily exercise profits a little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
(1 Timothy 4:8)