By Mandla and Andile Dladla
Adrian Montalban Ribas is one of those rare, dedicated and committed footballers who believes that in order to succeed as a professional in the beautiful game, one has to sacrifice a lot and at times refrain from attending raves and parties or going out at night to paint the town red.
The downfall of many sportsmen and women and their failure to achieve their true potential has often been their inability to turn down invitations to go clubbing with friends as they find themselves unable to report for training the following day or worse still to honour an official league fixture due to a hangover.
Ribas started playing football from as far as he can remember. He suspects that it all started when he was knee high, probably when he was at least four years inspired by his father who was a professional Futsal player in his youth.
“As my for the game passion grew, I started going for trials with teams like Villarreal and Real Betis,” said Ribas.
“At the age of 15 I went for trials in England with Watford where they wanted to offer me a professional youth contract but together with my family we decided that it was too risky at the time as it was my first experience away particularly considering my age.”
In 2017 he joined Pena Deportiva and during that season competed against many professional teams like Barcelona and my current team Mallorca and ended up signing with the latter during 2018. He recently extended his contract as he feels the experience has been great.
Mallorca is a professional football club that is fighting to get to the Spanish La Liga and Ribas who is an exciting 21 year old attacking midfielder blessed with an abundance of tricks, usually plays as a false number nine or second striker.
He is currently playing in the team’s under 23 set up and campaigning in the Spanish Tercera division. This year the league has been changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has been divided into two groups.
“We are currently on top of our division and fighting for promotion. Here in Spain from a young age until you turn 18 years there are many different leagues that you play in which are divided according to age groups.
“By the time you turn 18 then you are promoted to the under 23s where you play with guys that are older than you and physically stronger. I think that in the long run it becomes a positive for the player because you acquire greater experience than playing with players that are the same age as you.
“I would love to see myself playing in front of a big crowd every weekend in a stadium where fans of each team are massive and to be recognized by people as a player that does everything for the team and always gives his best on the field. An opportunity will come for me to take my game to the next level and I will be ready for it.”
Adrian believes that it is very important for players to acquire an educational background as he is currently studying tourism at the Universität Oberta de Catalunya and is a movie junkie. He makes sure he is at the cinema once every week to enjoy a latest movie offering and also loves playing video games.
Despite having missed a few important games due to minor injuries, he is grateful that at the age of 21 he has not suffered any serious injury. He has been lucky so far and has only picked up minor knocks that have side-lined him for a few days only and had consequently been back on the field in no time.
“My advice to young players is to enjoy football and have the passion because we are privileged to be part of an amazing sport ”
We cannot agree with him more!