Does talent exist in football?


Some people always say that you need a talent to succeed in something. That without talent, all your practice would be futile. That all the best football players have it. That it makes the difference between an average, and above average player. Even people that are oppose to talent, are saying that there is 99% hard work, and 1% talent. In other words that, you still need talent to be the best, but is this true?

What is talent? If you look at Merriam-Webster dictionary, it says that talent is “a special ability that allows someone to do something well“. If I put that into football perspective, it would be practically impossible to know if I have that special ability. I mean how would someone know that he has that special ability to being better than others, and what does “being better” mean.
If I am playing football, and I am better than 10 people that are playing with me. Does that mean I have a special ability that makes me one of the lucky few, or does that make me better than those 10 people, and in a way still kind of shitty comparing to the rest, or am I just having a good day?
I think that its impossible to know if I have a special ability, comparing to others, because its impossible to know how much other people have practiced football. Maybe others are playing football for the first time, while I got a little bit more experience.

If you look at the best in football currently. They didn’t start playing football when they were like 20 years old, and all of a sudden became superstars, because they had special abilities. No, they started playing football usually around 4 years old, and they became stars when they were 19+ years old. They were playing football for 15 years constantly before becoming excellent. Frankly, its impossible to know if they had some special ability, because of this. If I would do something for 15 years, constantly, every day, I would be pretty awesome at doing that stuff also.

Between average players, and superb players, only one thing stands out, and that is, they practice more. Practice makes perfect. That’s the key. The sooner you start practicing, the sooner you will became better. The longer you practice, the better you will became. I heard that you need to practice 10,000 hours at something to became good at it. I have no idea if that is true, but I sure know that if you practice more than others, you will be better than others.


This blows talent and special ability out of the water, because you can’t have it unless you practive it. Basically you get talent with practice. I think that talent is usually a misconception. We say that someone is talented, but in reality he just practiced more than others. He basically isn’t more talented, just more hard working.


I believe that footballer’s career depends mostly on the amount of training, and having luck with injuries. There are of course other things that can disrupt players career, but training and injuries are crucial. This is probably the main difference between a player like Abou Diaby, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Both players had an awesome work ethic, but Diaby was mostly injured, while Ronaldo  practically doesn’t know injuries.
No talent only hard work


Players like Ronaldo and Messi didn’t have talent, they just worked hard, and they had luck with injuries. They also happen to play in two of the best team in the world. I mean, if Ronaldo or Messi would be playing in some other Spanish club like Almeria, or something similar, do you think that they would still score as many goals, and bask in trophies? They wouldn’t even be half as good, and nobody would be talking about them. Football is a team sport and an individual is as good as his team lets him to be.
To sum up, I don’t believe that there is anything like talent in football. The Merriam-Webster dictionary about talent is wrong. It should be said that “talent is a special ability, for which you have to practice really really hard, that allows someone to do something well“. Everyone starts at zero. Its the amount of practice that makes the ultimate difference between the players. There are injuries and choices that can disrupt a players career, but in the end, you are as good as much as you practiced. In the end I would say that talent is a synonym for unknown amount of practice, and nothing else.
Štefan Japelj

About Štefan Japelj

Experienced content writer and marketing specialist. Football (soccer) expert that likes to watch Premier League (especially Arsenal). Knows a lot about other football leagues, too!