The attacking midfielder, currently playing for Granada in Spain, has made a huge impression in the world of football already establishing himself as one the best players in the world in his age group. With the U-20 World Cup kicking off tomorrow and Ghana playing their first game against Austria, we spoke exclusively with Clifford Aboagye on a range of subjects.
- Describe your journey as a footballer so far
My journey so far in football; so far so good. First of all, I will thank God for how far he has brought me. It has been a grace from God and I wish to continue progressing in football but it is something that I understand takes time.
- What are you ambitions in your career?
My aim in football is to play at the highest level and to create a legendary story. I love the game so I would like to leave a legacy in football and this has been my main aim in life since I was a young child. First of all, I had always dreamt of wearing the national jersey and doing that has been a dream come true so I would like this to continue into the senior level too.
- Who is your footballing idol and why?
Andres Iniesta! The maestro has been my role model since I was very young. I used to like Ronaldinho and watch him a lot but I love the way Andres Iniesta plays. I know I have learnt a lot from him already to get this far in my career.
- How do you prepare before a big game?
Preparations before a game; I try to be happy and stay relaxed. Anything that will get me angry before a match-day or on a match-day is a minus. I do my prayers of course and I don’t joke with them! I do my praises too before matches to motivate me more to perform at my best.
- How important is having a good diet for a footballer? What sort of foods do you eat?
Diet is very important in a footballer’s career. As a professional footballer you are supposed to be checking your diet and at the professional level you need to be taking diet menus from the team doctors which is what I go by.
- Why do you think you have been so successful so far?
I love football and it’s my life for now. I don’t think about anything apart from football. Also, I always try to practice in training grounds as practice makes perfect in matches. Since my childhood days in Ghana, I don’t joke with my training and I know this has been a major reason behind my success. Determination, they say, is the key to success, so I was very determined to achieve and I remain so to get to greater heights than where I currently am.
- What advice would you give to young players starting out like you?
The only advice I have for the talents that are coming up is when they choose to play football, then their life should be football. Think about football all the time. They should love what they do and also be happy about what they do. That has been my secret. I love football and I am happy to play football so it encourages me even more.
- You received the Bronze Ball at the 2013 U-20 World Cup and Ghana came third overall, how did that feel?
It was a really great feeling when I received the bronze ball at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, a dream come true. I have won regional best and national best player awards when I was young, but to get that at the world level I would say it was a dream come true and I give thanks to God almighty.
- What are your aims this year in New Zealand?
My main aim is to help my team bring the cup home. But first of all we will think of how to qualify from the group stages and taking match by match, we will concentrate and work towards winning all the games to reach the final.
- What does it take to be a Young Pro?
To be a Young Pro is not an easy task as you get introduced to the professional football environment. Your first year may be difficult but as time goes on you have to get adopted to the life as a footballer. You come across players who are far older and experienced than you are and that is where patience comes in. I am always ready to learn and reach the greatest height in football and to be a legend. May God see me through?
The U-20 World Cup in New Zealand kicks off tomorrow and Clifford Aboagye is bound to be a major star at the tournament.