Posts Tagged ‘Fabio Paim’

Fabio Paim

Paim with his previous club Sintra Football

Former football prodigy Fábio Paim gave a very revealing interview to Brazilian website Globoesporte and it reads like a cautionary tale for young footballers. Paim, now 29, recently signed with Paraíba do Sul, a team from the lowest depths of Rio de Janeiro’s state league.

Just to put in perspective how far Paim has fallen, a match that would have been his debut with his new club was cancelled after both clubs failed to meet the minimum number of players. This is his 19th club of his journeyman career, which has taken him across the globe from Portugal to England, Greece, Angola, Qatar, Malta, Lithuania, Luxembourg and now Brazil.

I translated some of the highlights.

Cristiano Ronaldo said in 2003, after arriving at Manchester United: “If you think I am good, just wait until you see Fábio Paim.” But since then, the two have gone on different paths.

If I was better than him [Cristiano Ronaldo], I would be where he is now. It is a matter of hard work, character, humility and great determination. There was a time where I did not have that. I did not have the strength and humility to get where I wanted to go. But, life is like that, I can’t look back now.

Paim insists he could have reached the level of the Portugal captain, even surpassed it, if he had taken a different route.

He is out of this world. There is no comparison today. In the past, yes. At one point, I could do more than him but I did not have what he had, which is the strength and desire to be what I wanted to be. He had a great work ethic and I didn’t have that. I had the quality, at least as much as him, but I did not have the rest. I would have preferred to have less quality if I had more of the other part. I would have been one of the best in the world. But, no one is born perfect. I thought having talent was enough but it’s not.

In 2008, he went on loan to Premier League club Chelsea, then managed by ex-Portugal manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. At that point, he had endured three different loan spells in Portugal with little success. However, he believes it really started to go wrong in West London.

It was there [Chelsea] where I stopped training and doing my work. I started drinking. I had money and I started doing a lot of things I didn’t do before. The doors were open for me to do what I felt like.

Paim would never play for the main squad and eventually returned to Sporting CP. He admits the lifestyle of a professional athlete got the better of him.

When a player turns professional, it is very different. You need to be more regimented. You can’t do what you did before.

Having a father is very important. You need rules and discipline. But, that is not why I failed. It was my fault. I did not have the strength, attitude and respect for the important things in the world of football.

Paim signed his first professional contract at Sporting CP at age 13 and three years later was earning a handsome salary of €150,000 a season while still in the youth academy.

I was not used to having money. When I started playing, I didn’t even have proper boots. I wasn’t ready for it. I didn’t have what young players have now which is an example to follow. You need role models. I feel proud and a little ashamed to pass along this message to them.

Automobiles were his vice of choice.

I spent a lot of money on cars. I love cars. I spent lavishly on the ones I wanted. All of them. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Maserati and even a Punto [laughs]. Every car you could imagine.

When you have a lot of money, you need a support system around you. I would have done it differently, if I could.

And in the end, he did not have people that looked after his interests.

I knew what I was doing. I believed I had more talent than everyone else. Like everyone, I wanted to feel good, wear nice clothing, drive a nice car and behave with no humility. But, it’s normal, that’s what people work for, to be satisfied. On the field, I did what I had to, in order to retreat to my place. I spent time with people I wanted to and did what I wanted.

At the time, no one criticized me when things were going well. But, when I stopped playing, they started pointing the finger. I just wanted to be with my cars.

His regrets are numerous but insists that he now has a positive outlook on life.

Now, I want to look after my own and give my children a stable life. That part of my life has passed. Now, I need to work hard because I am now 29-years-old. Time has passed very quickly. But, I always like to have a smile on my face. What has happened, happened.

And he insists that he is taking this opportunity at Paraíba do Sul, which plays its football in the fourth division of Campeonato Carioca, very seriously.

I have passed through many clubs and I am very grateful for this opportunity. [Paraíba do Sul] is not the best club in Brazil or the worst, but they are giving me an opportunity to play.

I could help the young players on the squad given my experience. I don’t want it to be me and the other 10 players. I am the same as them and I do not want to be treated differently. I am here to help and be helped. If that works, it will be good for everyone. I want to earn promotion and make everyone happy. These kids have a lot to give.

All quotes were translated from Portuguese by Rui Miguel Martins.