Striking a balance: star footballers after international success

March 01, 2024 - 12:09
By striking a balance between talent, humility, and discipline, young footballers can navigate the challenges of stardom and build successful, enduring careers.
Illustration by Trịnh Lập

By Thanh Nga

In the realm of football, achieving star status after shining on the international stage is a dream come true for young players. However, the story of Nguyễn Đình Bắc, a talented 20-year-old striker, serves as a cautionary tale about the perils of premature success.

Bắc's rise to fame was accompanied by disciplinary issues that have led to consequences, highlighting the importance of maintaining discipline and humility in the face of accolades.

At the age of 18, Bắc's promising career hit a roadblock when he was suspended for three matches by the Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) due to bad behaviour towards a referee during a 2022 second division match.

Although talented, Bắc continued to struggle with discipline, as he recently faced further consequences, while playing for V.League 1's Quảng Nam Club.

Due to repeated violations of team discipline, he was sent to the youth team, highlighting the need for young players to control their actions and avoid jeopardising their passion for the sport.

Bắc's stardom rose to new heights when he received a torrent of compliments from pundits and fans alike following his impressive performance in the 2023 Asian Cup finals, where he scored crucial goals and showcased exceptional skills against formidable opponents.

Despite Việt Nam's early exit from the tournament, Bắc's talent and potential were highly praised, cementing his reputation as a "young Vietnamese star" and one of the top three promising young players of 2023.

However, it is important to recognise that compliments can be a double-edged sword. While they can motivate brave players to strive for greater success, they can also lead less confident individuals, like Bắc, down a delusional path.

Bắc's repeated violations of team rules, including oversleeping and late arrivals to training sessions, compelled coach Văn Sỹ Sơn to take severe disciplinary action.

The coach decided to send Bắc to the youth team and closely monitor his progress until he demonstrates improvement. This punishment is not only intended to correct Bắc's behaviour but also serves as a lesson for other players on the team, emphasising the importance of discipline, unity, and solidarity at the club

Coaches, such as Phan Như Thuật and Hoàng Anh Tuấn, also stressed the necessity of discipline, both on and off the field, for young players. Beyond football, players must exhibit good social behaviour, which plays a crucial role in their overall development.

The story of rising star Đinh Xuân Tiến, who faced similar disciplinary action, further illustrates the need for young players to understand and adhere to the rules and expectations set by their clubs.

Young players like Bắc need to understand that being selected for the national team does not automatically make them the best in their position. Rather, they are chosen based on their compatibility with the coach's playing philosophy.

The case of Nguyễn Văn Quyết, an excellent player who has not been used by South Korean coach Park Hang-seo, and Nguyễn Hoàng Đức, who was recently relegated to the reserve position by French coach Philippe Troussier, demonstrates the importance of self-awareness and the willingness to improve.

The story of striker Phạm Tuấn Hải serves as an inspiring example. Despite facing disciplinary issues during his youth and early career, Hải emerged as the top striker for Hà Nội FC and the national team, earning the Vietnamese Silver Ball 2023 award.

Bắc can draw valuable lessons from Hải's journey and strive to avoid the pitfalls of star status by focusing on personal growth and maintaining discipline.

The star status attained by footballers after shining on the international stage is an exciting prospect. However, as demonstrated by Nguyễn Đình Bắc, it is essential for young players to remain grounded, maintain discipline, and continuously work on their personal development.

Compliments should serve as motivation rather than breeding complacency. By striking a balance between talent, humility, and discipline, young footballers can navigate the challenges of stardom and build successful, enduring careers. VNS