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Johnson Mathews can be a game-changer on his day. (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Cristiano Ronaldo influence behind supreme mental strength and work ethics: Johnson Mathews

Johnson Mathews can be a game-changer on his day. (Image Credit: Twitter)
Johnson Mathews can be a game-changer on his day. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Cristiano Ronaldo left the world stunned with his fearless criticism of Coca-Cola during Euro 2020. Ronaldo openly snubbed bottles of the soft drink giant, urging everyone to drink water instead. The 36-year-old is considered one of the fittest footballers in world football currently, with his supreme emphasis on training and eating right hailed by one and all. Ronaldo determines the final result despite being on the wrong side of the 30s due to his professionalism. His desire to strive for greatness through utmost hard work and dedication has inspired numerous emerging footballers. One of them is Indian attacker Johnson Mathews.

Cristiano Ronaldo changed my life

Mathews terms Ronaldo as his role model, hailing the Portuguese superstar as an inspiration.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is a role model. His exploits on the field for some of the best teams in world football is inspirational for sure. I have been watching him since my childhood, and never fail to be amazed,” he said in an exclusive interaction with Sportsjuana.

The 20-year-old further shared an anecdote involving Ronaldo, that changed his attitude towards the game completely.

“I was not getting much game time at FC Pune City, during the beginning of the season. This was followed by an interaction with the coaches over the zone which needed improvement. They reassured me that my performance was up to the mark. I went back home and was just scrolling through Instagram when I saw a video showcasing Ronaldo’s training during a day. The amount of hard work and dedication was unbelievable. At that moment, I decided to attempt to emulate the same having been inspired by his professionalism. The same soon resulted in my maiden start, indicating the importance of being dedicated.”

Immense promise

Mathews is considered one of the most promising prospects in Indian football. He enjoys pace, composure, a good eye for goals as well as a level-headed approach. The 20-year-old is patient, humble, and backs himself twice as much as anyone would. Many have compared the upcoming footballer to Udanta Singh, due to his ability to take on the full-backs and run behind defenses to latch onto balls from the midfield.

Once he is at the end of the final pass, Mathews can not only launch a powerful strike but also outclass defenders and keepers.

The attacker is extremely versatile. He can operate as a striker, winger, or attacking midfielder and is comfortable playing in any position across the attacking line. Mathews has represented top clubs like Mumbai FC, FC Pune City, and Hyderabad FC respectively so far. He was a part of the FC Pune City youth team across the U-18 AIFF Youth League and domestic competitions. The attacker emerged as an integral part of the team, chipping in with 7 goals and 8 assists before switching over to Hyderabad FC. Mathews currently represents the Union Bank of India for whom he has registered 4 goals and as many assists in 8 games.

Sensational goal 

One of the footballer’s most prominent performances was recorded in an encounter between Thakur College and EHIS in the RYFS Cup. Mathews seized possession at the edge of the box, moved left for space, and unleashed a left-footer into the top-left corner. The footballer was awarded the golden boot after accounting for 10 goals.

Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 has certainly affected the footballer’s progress, with its impact felt in the lives of footballers all around the world.

“I was playing with the Hyderabad FC reserve team when COVID struck its dangerous fangs. The season had concluded, but there was no more football in store for us as long as a season. There was nothing to do, with helplessness at every stage. During the period, my contract with the Hyderabad-based franchise further expired. It was very difficult to even attract a new club despite all the talent. No trial sessions were being conducted. However, I tried to train as much as possible to ensure optimum fitness.”

Mathews has definitely missed out on his fair share of fun due to a busy schedule, which revolves solely around football. However, it is all worth it as it lands him in good stead with regard to potential selection in the Indian team.

“All the extra hours and extreme hard work on the field will certainly pay off. There have been days when I barely reached home before hitting the bed because I was so tired. However, as they say: It’s all about what you want to do in order to make it happen.”

“I don’t think anyone will ever love me that much”

The footballer shares a beautiful relationship with his family, who have provided complete support along his journey so far.

“I open whatsapp to check my mom’s messages and sometimes she randomly keeps my picture as her display image. I don’t think anyone will ever love me that much. My sister has been my guide and has helped me with my football as well as in my academics right since day one. She has definitely played a vital role in my upbringing. Her assistance in helping me stay organized, manage my time, plan my week and helping me use my weekends wisely and productively has been supremely vital. I wish to purchase a beautiful house for my family one day,” he said in an interaction with Fisto Sports.

India’s search for a successor to Sunil Chettri may well end with Mathews if fortune favours.


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