You’ve got to learn your trade from somewhere, whether you’re playing soccer or pounding nails into the wall as a carpenter. Here’s a short list of some of the best soccer mentors, those who’ve passed along or are passing along their genius on the soccer pitch to a better, younger, and maybe faster version of themselves. Even the best players in the world had a soccer mentor at one time or another - someone who they looked up to.
Messi and Ronaldinho – a tight relationship I’m guessing between these two, full of respect, the two pass the ball to one another as if they share their same software. However, Messi's idol growing up wasn't Ronaldinho but Pablo Aimar.
Quote from Messi: Despite their rivalry with Argentina, Barcelona's Brazilians look after Messi. "I get on really well with the Brazilians," he says. "I'm very close to Sylvinho and Deco takes me shopping. Ronaldinho is a phenomenon. He gives me a lot of advice and praises me permanently. We have fun in every training session. He says I'm his little brother."
Thierry Henry & Van Basten. For Arsenal and French forward Thierry Henry, his soccer idols growing up were George Weah, Ronaldo (the Brazilian Ronaldo) and Dutch striker Marco Van Basten.
Andres Iniesta & Laudrup. Iniesta has said that his two soccer idols growing up were Pep Guardiola and Michael Laudrup. Iniesta also seems to have taken one of Laudrup's favorite dribbling moves and made it his own, where he switches the ball from one foot to the other and skips past the defender. This Iniesta move is now sometimes called La Croqueta.
For any young soccer player it's good to have a player you look up to and try to model your game after. Watch that player as much as possible on TV and copy everythign they do.
What's also great about a soccer mentor or modeling your game after another player is that soccer player can be short or tall or slow or fast or skinny or strong. If you're a player who's not too big, then you can look at Iniesta or Messi and see that despite their size they stilll became world class soccer players.
And this is what's great about the sport of soccer in general: players come in all shapes and sizes, what's unique is that all top players have excellent touch and skills on the ball. This is the key, if you want to player soccer at a high level then you must spend time with the ball on your own, mastering skills like juggling, dribbling, and shooting.
What's more, your soccer mentor doesn't have to be just a world class player. Often, soccer players who reach the highet level of the game, had mentors early on who were brothers or sisters or their Dad or Mom. Or, your soccer mentor might be an older player in your own club team who you look up to and want to play like.