Max Gradel was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and had an unusual route to making it in football.
Moving to the UK in 2004, the youngster attended Lewisham College and, as had been the plan, excelled in football. He did well enough to receive the attention of professional clubs and eventually ended up signing a contract with Leicester City.
It wasn’t a lucrative deal, but it made the world of difference to the now 30 year old and his family. That Leicester wage was the first step in a series which would see him make a good life for himself and his family through football.
Gradel has been speaking to France Football and sharing some of the most important things which have happened during his career, and the Leicester pay packet was one.
“At Leicester (2008-09), I was at £200 a week. I called my mother to give her a money transfer. She was so surprised to know that her son could do that. This is the first time I gave her money. This struck me.”
Finding it hard to really gain prominence at Leicester, Gradel moved to Bournemouth and then Leeds United on loan, signing for the latter permanently in 2010.
From there he’s played for Saint Etienne, been back to Bournemouth on a permanent deal, and is now with Toulouse.
More importantly he’ll have no doubt been able to help his family in the way he always wanted.