Football is played by people all sizes. There is basically no limit as to how tall a person can be to play football. Some players are huge like Costel Pantilimon, and some players are short like Lionel Messi. Given that Messi is considered small, I decided to find out just who is the world smallest professional football player!
There is no perfect height in football. You have Ronaldo who is 184 cm tall, than you have Messi who is 169 cm tall, and than you have Ibrahimovic who is 195 cm tall. These are all very effective players, which means that height doesn’t influences one potential, or success in football.
I know its practically impossible to locate the smallest professional football player in the world, because world is quite big. Still I managed to find someone who is really small, and is playing his trade in a little bit more known league. Before I introduce him, I would like to point out some honorable mentions that I managed to seek them out with the help of Sportskeeda.com.
The first person on this honorable list is Benedict Vilkazi. The South African is 157 cm (5ft 1.8in) tall, and has nickname little Napoleon.Vilkazi looks like a pit bull, and his game is based on his look. Vilkazi is hard tackling defensive midfield player, who has played in South Africa for majority of his career.
The player has had quite a turbulent career with plenty of controversies, which really hindered his playing career. He went to Europe just once in his professional career to play for AaB Aalborg in Danish league. Vilkazi didn’t impress in Aalborg, having played for them only 5 times, before he returned to South Africa. He is currently 32 years old, and is slowly nearing professional retirement.
Next person on this honorable list is Marcin Garuch. Garuch is 155 cm (5ft 1in) tall, and frankly looks like your average Polish guy; a bit bright brown hair, with a pale face. However when you see him in the picture with others, he looks comically small.
Garuch, primarily a central midfielder, has never left Poland professionally, and is currently playing for his youth club Miedz Legnica. His value is considered to be around €150.000. which isn’t a lot for a professional player. Given that Garuch is 27 years old, he will probably never became some football superstar, but is sure going to be recognized for his height.
The last person on this honorable list is Daniel Villalva. This Argentinian is the youngest on this list, with 23 years of age. Villalva is only 155 cm (5ft 1in) tall. Given that is the youngest in the list, he is also the most perspective.
Villalva, with his has a standard latino look, is the youngest player to have ever played for River Plate. Although he had a very promising start, the injuries brought him down. He never really managed to come back into River’s first team so left and join a Mexican side called Veracruz.
Given that Villalva is playing quite well for Veracruz, there is a big possibility that he will move to one of the top 5 European leagues in the near future. When this will happen, Villalva will probably make a new standard for a small player, while also making Messi look like rather tall.
The football player who is the shortest in the world, is non other than…
I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard about Elton Gomes. He is from Brazil, and is currently playing for Saudia Arabia side called Al-Fateh SC. Gomes is unbelievably only 154 cm (5feet 0.63in) tall, and is officially the shortest (professional) football player in the world.
Highly technical 29 year old Brazilian started his professional career with Corinthians. He played only 6 games for them, before going to Steaua Bucharest in Europe. He didn’t impress at Bucharest either, and he moved to Al-Naser in Saudia Arabia.
In the next 4 years he managed to change 5 clubs, with no success in any of them. It looked as if the professional football isn’t meant for the little Brazilian, but things changed with transfer to Al-Fateh. He impressed, and became first team regular. Overall, he has played 96 games for Al-Fateh, and scored 36 goals, which is very impressive.
Gomes, with his afro haircut, has very good dribbling technique. He is very quick, and has an awesome ball control. He is also very effective free-kick taker. You can see some of his highlights here.
Picture above shows realistically how tall are Gomes, Messi, Ronaldo, and Ibrahimovic. If you compare Gomes with Lionel Messi, you can see that Messi is basically a giant against him! Comparing Gomes to Cristiano Ronaldo, or Zlatan Ibrahimovic is simply ridiculous. He looks like a child against them.
As I said before, being small or tall, doesn’t really matter in football. The skill is the primary asset. Gomes is the proof of that. Although he is only 155 cm tall, he managed to achieve more in football than some twice his height. Given that small players tend to have better ball control than tall players, there is a possibility that we might soon be watching smaller and more improved player than Messi.