Gvardiol: I almost quit football to help my father sell fish at the market

Josko Gvardiol I almost quit football to help my father sell fish at the market and now I am linked with a £90m transfer to Chelsea Instagram @joskogvardiol and Instagram @rbleipzig https://www.instagram.com/p/CnH8jtDvZJP/?hl=en

THIS footballer almost quit the beautiful game to help his father sell fish at their local market.

But it’s a good thing he didn’t give up on his dreams.

That’s because he’s now being tipped for a stunning £90million move to Chelsea.

The Blues have been splashing the cash left, right and centre under Todd Boehly.

The American has handed out more than £600m on stars including Mykhailo Mudryk and Enzo Fernandez.

And there could yet be more incomings this summer.

One area which has been a cause for concern is defence.

But Chelsea could be presented with a saviour in the shape of RB Leipzig and Croatia star Josko Gvardiol.

The versatile centre-back, who can also play on the left, is one of world football’s top prospects.

Gvardiol, 21, has already clocked up 74 appearances for RB Leipzig and scored his fourth goal in last night’s 1-1 Champions League draw with Manchester City.

The ace put in several admirable performances at the World Cup too, leading his country to a third-place finish.

And Gvardiol is now being strongly linked with a £90m switch to Stamford Bridge.

But things could have turned out differently had he decided to follow through on initial plans to quit football.

Gvardiol admits he was looking to pack things in four or five years ago after warming the bench for Dinamo Zagreb’s youth side.

The defender endured a tough upbringing in the Croatian capital, waking up daily at 4am to help his dad sell fish at the market.

And Gvardiol almost stepped away from football to partake in the family trade full-time.

I was frustrated and, at one moment, I was thinking to leave football

But after soon getting his break in the team, the star’s stunning progress saw him blitz into Zagreb’s senior squad.

Gvardiol told the Times: “I was 16 or 17 and still on the bench in the youth teams. I was frustrated and, at one moment, I was thinking to leave football.

“[Selling fish?] By the way, I hate fish. Imagine being 16 years old and there’s only fish to eat every day at home. I want to try something else.

“I don’t know what happened but then afterwards I started to play and they finally saw something in me, my quality, and in one year I moved to Dinamo Zagreb’s second team.

“In six months I was in the first team with [now-RB Leipzig team-mate] Dani Olmo.”

Gvardiol also revealed he could have joined Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds before opting for Leipzig instead.

He said: “I had two options, Leeds and Leipzig. Bielsa was the coach and my goal in my career is to play in the Premier League.

“[But] I knew I needed to take a few steps more before I get there one day.”

Gvardiol almost saw his dream come true last summer when Chelsea made a late move.

But Leipzig rejected the bid after telling Gvardiol he was too important to sell.

The ace added: “My agent called me and saw that Chelsea is extremely interested. Of course you definitely think about a serious offer from a huge club like Chelsea.

“Leipzig said they didn’t want to sell me, in the end I really struggled with that decision but we didn’t make an agreement.

“It is what it is, I am here and fine with this because my idea had been to stay here, one season wasn’t enough.

“This is my second, even one more season would be great but we will see.”

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