Aribo is a better role model than Ronaldo, Benzema – owner of the Academy

Kinetic Foundation owner Harry Hudson described Joe Aribo as the role model a young player should look up to.

He said Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and “unfortunately” Mason Greenwood could be considered better role models because they flaunt flashy cars and designers, but insisted that Aribo held more in terms of good example.

Hudson, who has also coached Josh Maja and Calvin Bassey in the past, said the Rangers midfielder has always been exemplary.

“The challenge we have in society is that for most young people their role models are either footballers or rappers,” he told Football Scotland.

“Those are the two things they are looking for. Some footballers are negative role models. Even if I look at someone like Karim Benzema and what he posts on social media. It’s a mini-movie of him driving crazy cars with Balenciaga shoes and £200,000 watches and that’s what young people believe is success.

“It’s a very materialistic view of success and it’s the same with rappers. It’s all chains, bling, girls and cars. The biggest challenge we have is the first day they are attracted because we say “we can’t make you a professional footballer and we never can, we can give you the best platform and the best opportunity to see where it will take you.” We don’t sell dreams, but that’s what gets them.

“Over the next two years we worked very hard behind the scenes on plan B. It’s hard to do when for 16 years they’ve thought success is about driving a Range Rover.

“Most of the time it is impossible for that to be the case. If they don’t succeed as footballers, they have to think about menial work and you’re not going to drive a Range Rover.

“The only other people they see who have that material value are drug dealers or gangsters. They could go and sell drugs for £250 a day in cash and they’ll never get that money in menial work and we just try to build them only to realize it’s not the right life choice to make.

“In terms of role models, it’s nice to have people like Joe who don’t always post about cars and vacations and all the material things. He’s very religious, talks about God and being punished. is really important because most of their role models have been people like Ronaldo, Benzema and unfortunately people like Greenwood, they’re not always the best people to look up to.

“I can’t pretend to help him. He has always been a very calm and very nice young man and this is the merit of his upbringing. I hope along the way we could have helped, but Joe was always a lovely young man. I don’t know what I would do if I was suddenly getting £5,000 a week at 18. It’s difficult.

“I had a good upbringing and would never hesitate to do so, but if I had been given silly money from a young age, it must be hard to keep my feet on the ground. Deep down, Joe has always been a wonderful young man and it hasn’t changed him to be wildly successful.

Rebecca R. Santistevan