Nguyễn Anh Đức performs at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018. VNA/VNS Photo
Viet Nam News
by Thanh Nga
Striker Nguyễn Anh Đức is considered a “magnate” of Vietnamese football. Not only has he achieved a lot on the field – the most important thing for a professional footballer – he has also been a success in his business dealings.
Playing for V.League 1’s Becamex Bình Dương since 2006, Đức has helped his team win the national premiere league in 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2015; the National Cup in 2015 and 2018; and reach the semi-finals of the AFC Cup in 2009. He won the Vietnamese Golden Ball award in 2015 as well as the Vietnamese Silver Ball award in 2017. He was top scorer in the top flight in 2017.
At the age of 33, Đức helped Việt Nam lift the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2018 after 10 years of waiting.
Thanks to his contribution, Đức won the Silver Ball award. The Golden Ball went to midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải of Hà Nội T &T who also shone at the region’s biggest football event.
Đức, the oldest player for Việt Nam at the AFF Cup, scored four goals for Việt Nam during the tournament, including a vital strike in the second leg of the final with an unstoppable left-footed volley to down arch rivals Malaysia on December 15.
“The moment we lifted the AFF Suzuki Cup at the Mỹ Đình Stadium, Ha Noi, was the most memorable of my career. I was really very happy to help Việt Nam take the regional title after 10 years,” said Đức.
The night, many fans shared a moving video of Đức trying to find his mother, shouting: “Where are you? Where are you?”
“When my friends showed me the video, I was in tears. I often experience his feelings and worries despite the fact he is a man of very few words,” said Đức’s mother, Phạm Thị Minh Phượng.
“I will die one day but I have no regrets. My son has grown up and achieved his dream,” said Phượng.
“It surprised me that at the age of 33, my son could still be part of this miracle,” Phượng added.
With age comes wisdom
People often say life begins at 30. But in football, the age of 30 marks the beginning of the end.
Former star Phạm Thành Lương, who was a member of the squad that won the 2008 AFF Suzuki Cup, announced his retirement following a poor performance at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 at the age of 28. Lương won the Vietnamese Golden Ball in 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016, alongside a Silver Ball in 2010. Striker Lê Công Vinh, who was widely regarded as one of the country’s best strikers, announced his retirement at the age of 31.
Nguyễn Anh Đức is happy with his wife and his little son and girl. Photo ngoisao.vn
Nguyễn Anh Đức poses with his 2018 Silver Ball award. Photo scdn.net
However, Đức chose a different path. Last year, acting coach Mai Đức Chung convinced him to return to the national senior team to take part in the qualifying round of the Asian Cup 2019 and he agreed at the age of 32.
The last time Đức competed in the jersey of the national team was eight years ago in the AFF Cup in 2010 when Việt Nam lost to Malaysia in the semi-finals. Since then, he had only competed at club-level for Bình Dương.
In the 5-0 win against Cambodia at the Asian Cup 2019 qualifier at Mỹ Đình last year, Đức got himself on the scoresheet.
Notably, South Korean coach Park Hang-seo attended the match as he prepared for his new role as Việt Nam’s head coach.
“Đức is a true striker. He can scent a goal and gets in good positions to score,” said coach Chung, who is now head of the national women’s team.
"After Vinh retired, Việt Nam were lucky enough to have a professional striker like Đức. Many people suspected he was too old to make an impact, but he has answered his critics,” said general director of Bình Dương, Lê Hồng Cường.
“Coach Park and his assistant asked me about Đức’s strength, but not about his skill. They were happy to find out he was very strong and didn’t have any injuries. At 33, he still trains after his teammates have gone home,” Cường added.
At the age of 30, Đức won the Golden Ball and at 32 he was top scorer in the national premier league.
Đức is also a prosperous businessman with the Anh Đức Sports trademark and considered one of the richest footballers in the country.
“I began to trade in 2008. The idea of trading sports gear, especially Anh Đức shoes, came up when I was training. At that time, football boots were low quality and players got injured easily. So I tried to invest in quality sports shoes to stop these injuries from happening,” said Đức.
“Thanks to football, I made a good amount of money which I used to start my business,” Đức added.
In addition to shoes, Đức also produces clothing and has a chain of restaurants and hotels, along with pepper brand “Bác Bảy”.
“Trading is one of my passions. I want to fulfill all my desires. For example, as a footballer, I want to commercialise sports products to serve the community. For agricultural products, it has been my family’s traditional occupation for over 30 years,” said Đức.
According to Đức, among the fields in which he trades, he likes sports the most because it is close to his passion for football.
Đức didn’t reveal his income but said he made billions of Vietnamese đồng every month. However, he doesn’t intend to give up football to focus on business.
“I have never thought of retiring even at the most difficult times. I will play football until I can’t,” said Đức.
Thanks to his success, Đức is a good example and inspiration for young footballers.
“Besides being professional on the field, he is a very good businessman. Whatever he does, he does well. I admire him very much,” said young midfielder Trương Đạt of Bình Dương. — VNS