Professional athletes are extraordinary athletes, allowing them to try out many sports, to the point that some champions could have pursued a career elsewhere.

Professional athletes most of the time have above-average physical qualities, and some could have had a career in several disciplines. NBA players, the American basketball league, were among the best prospects in American football or baseball. Some have even been professionals in two different sports, like Boston Celtics guard Danny Ainge, a professional in baseball before making a career in the NBA. Other places other mores: in France, swimming star Florent Manaudou was able to try handball for a while.

We regularly hear professional athletes explain that they started sport with football, the leading French sport in terms of number of licensees, before branching off towards the discipline for which we know them today. However, other athletes took the opposite route, and only arrived later on the football fields.

Thus, a famous player from the French team revealed that he was not, initially, attracted to football and grass pitches, but rather to tatami mats. Indeed, the player of the French team and Real Madrid Eduardo Camavinga explains that, when he was a child, he preferred doing judo rather than playing football. In an interview with the British tabloid The Guardian, he reveals that it was his mother who convinced him to swap the kimono for crampons and a jersey. He even explains that he didn’t want to play football.

“At first I just wanted to do judo. My brother did it and I wanted to be like him. I also liked to fight a little. I didn’t fight at school, but more at home. My mother didn’t didn’t want me to do judo. She wanted me to play football. I started young but I didn’t want to at first”, assures the former Breton.

Trained at Fougères then at Stade Rennais, Camavinga was quick to explode and reveal his potential. Arriving at the club’s training center at the age of 11, he was recruited by Real Madrid at the age of 19, in 2021, a transfer estimated at 45 million euros with bonuses. He has since established himself as a central player, both for club and national team, and has just completed two full seasons with his club, where he is sometimes positioned as a full-back, sometimes as a midfielder by his coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Injured in the fall during a meeting with the France team, he returned during the season and played a key role in Real Madrid’s run in La Liga and the Champions League, notably during the quarter-final. against Manchester City. He should participate in the Euro with the Blues, to try to win a new trophy. If his participation in the Olympic Games is sometimes mentioned, it will therefore take place far from the tatami mats. We would have loved a combo of Riner-Camavinga medals.