Some of the world’s best footballers have shared personal memories of their childhood and told stories of the first place they remember playing football.
In a new series of films from Beko, Premium Partner of FC Barcelona, Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué, Arda Turan, Ivan Rakitic and Marc-André ter Stegen star in Playful Places, a series which tells the stories of where they first started playing on the path to global fame with Barça.
The series is part of Beko’s Official partner of play campaign to show the importance of play and the joy it can bring to people’s lives, young and old.
Uruguayan striker Suárez remembers the pitches at Urreta FC, his first club, were not in a good condition, but he still has ‘beautiful memories’ and ‘loved those times’ trying to emulate his idols.
FCB’s all-time leading scorer Messi began playing as a young boy at Grandoli FC in Argentina on pitches of dirt and rocks. His advice to the next generation is to ‘enjoy what football is, learn how to win, learn how to lose, but above all enjoy’.
Defender Piqué first played at La Masia, the Barça academy, which he calls his ‘second home’. His first pitch has now been turned into a car park, but he recalls the best part of those early days was playing with his friends and learning that football is about respect.
Goalkeeper Ter Stegen labels his first club, Borussia Mönchengladbach, a ‘really special place’ and advises younger players to ‘have fun, enjoy playing football and fight for the win’.
Rakitic first started playing at FC Möhlin-Riburg in Switzerland, which he describes as a ‘very important place’. One memory stands out more than others – scoring 18 goals in a 25-0 win!
Turkish international Turan’s first pitch is a ‘very special place to him’ and admits it’s ‘right in the middle of my heart’, especially as it is now named after him – the Arda Turan Spor Tesisleri. The midfielder feels ‘privileged to be a role model’ for the younger generation.
Shane Kelly, Sales & Marketing Manager at Beko, said: “Whether you are an FC Barcelona super star or just play football for fun, we all started playing somewhere and have many memories of those early days – whether it was on the street, on a pitch with no grass or on a perfect surface at a football academy. Play is important in everyday life, but, as our recent World Play Shortage Report highlighted, there is a lack of play among children and adults. Remembering the fun we all had will hopefully help inspire more people to play more, every day.”
The World Play Shortage Report by Beko highlights how important it is to encourage people to play more. The survey of 22 countries found that, in an average week, children have three hours less leisure time (21 hours) these days compared to their parents’ generation (24 hours) – the equivalent of two full 90-minute football matches. Furthermore, a staggering 70% of adults do not rank playing sport as one of their favourite leisure time activities.
The Official partner of play campaign is built on FC Barcelona’s skilful, attacking football played with freedom and enjoyment both on and off the pitch, a style of play that epitomises the true spirit of football. As a brand, Beko supports people in their busy lives by providing faster, more efficient home appliances, giving them more time and freedom to ‘play’ every day with the spirit of FC Barcelona.