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How a bricklayer overcame cancer and became a Newcastle player

How a bricklayer overcame cancer and became a Newcastle player

April 2019 is also the unemployed Florent Indalesio responds exactly to a job advertisement. In front of SPORTbible he remembers how he sent his photo and three days later he received a call early in the morning. On the phone, his future boss says, "I want you to come and work with me."

At the age of 21, after many injuries and obstacles in his football career, Indalesio left his home in France and went to Sydney, although he did not know a word of English. He has no experience in the construction industry. So he finds himself on a construction site and earns his living with a holiday visa.

On weekends, Indellacio competes for fun in the fourth level of Australian football. His big goal in life - to play professional football - is starting to evaporate. However, a turning point in his life took place. Just two years after the attacking midfielder used a Google translator to communicate with his construction manager in Sydney, Indelasio made his dream come true by signing a contract with Newcastle United.

The French player believes that if it were not for the obstacles that life puts in front of him, he will never fulfill his big dream.

"It's an amazing story, but this is life. Because of my past, I have this mentality. If I had never worked as a construction bricklayer, things might have been different.

Florent, obsessed with football, grew up in the picturesque Rhône-Alpes region, training at the age of 9 at one of the most prestigious youth football academies in France. He impresses with his talent against big European clubs. With the local team, Saint-Etienne beat teams like Real Madrid.

He played alongside Alan St. Maximus, who is also known as a great talent. Everything is going great for Indalesio, but his lack of discipline at school plays a very bad joke at a key moment in his football development.

 "If you don't behave well at school, the club will set you free. I was told that I would not be offered another year at the club. I was very young, so when I was told, I accepted it normally. After a year or two, however, I realized my mistake, because when you leave a professional club in this way, it is very difficult to find a new team, "recalls Florent Indalesio.

In fact, it is not an easy task to find a new team and he is forced to prove himself in lower-ranked teams. Soon, however, Florent received terrible news from doctors - a tumor was found in his knee.

"I haven't played football for 18 months. After I had surgery, the doctors told me that I might never play football again. According to them, it was all over. It was a really big operation. "

Despite doctors' suspicions that Indalesio could ever return to the field, he has learned his lesson and is working hard to play football again. He has to start from scratch because he has lost all the muscle mass in his legs.

"After what happened, I just worked hard at the gym. Every day, seven days a week. I went with a friend of mine who helped me a lot. We trained together and after a year and a half I finally returned to the field. I started playing for a much smaller club.

Indalesio took part in 10 low-level games, scoring 6 goals. However, he wants to take a new step towards the top and decides to go to rehearsals in the United States, where football academies are very different.

"I moved to the United States when I was 18 and was rehearsing in Miami. It's different there. If you want to find a professional or semi-professional club, you go online and pay to be tried. You play for a day or two and then they tell you whether they will sign with you or not. About 300 people appeared at the rehearsals. I managed to perform quite well and they decided to take me. I was told to return in a month.

Florent was chosen, along with 15 other players. He even took part in several pre-season controls and demonstrated his speed and skills. Again, a knee problem, however, halts his progress.

"It was the same knee that was operated on. I stopped training for two or three weeks. When I returned, I felt pain. I was not in the best condition. I decided to return to France. I told the coach that I was returning to Europe. I didn't want to stay in the United States. "

So Indalesio makes the difficult decision to give up his dream of playing football professionally. Instead, he returned home and started working.

"When you play football, but you are not a professional player, it is quite difficult to make a living. I played in the fifth division of France, for example, and I had to pay my rent. I needed money for food and car maintenance. I had to work while playing football.

The French striker spends a whole year juggling between work and football. He played for amateur teams while working in a chemical plant, then in a regular plant, and briefly at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, the stadium where St. Etienne played his official matches.

"I delivered drinks before the matches and at halftime. I was just trying to make some money and live normally. At that time I also went to labor centers, where you give your CV and they are looking for a job.

During this difficult period, he did not think actively about football. He sees a former teammate who posted a photo on Instagram of himself playing for LA Galaxy II and decided to try his luck again in the United States. He goes to rehearsals, but in the second team of LA Galaxy, but again he does not succeed.

"I played three games, scored four goals and made two assists, but they decided not to take me. In my head, however, I told myself that there was no problem, because I will continue to work hard and one day I will have a new chance to succeed.

Many in Indalesio's place would give up after all that has happened, but he decides to continue his journey and pursue his dream.

"Once you know what real life is, your mentality changes. It's hard to get up at 4-5 in the morning. When you play football when you're young, you still don't know what real life is. Therefore, when some young players make a lot of money, they subsequently fail. They just don't value money properly. For example, when you buy a jacket for 3,000 euros, they don't understand how much money it is for some people in France who live on 1,000 euros a month. "

"Two months after the rehearsals in Los Angeles, I returned to France and just thought about where I could find a good team. There are two teams in my city. One is professional and the other plays in the lower divisions. You can't be a professional in the second team because he plays in the fourth division. I thought a lot, ”Florent recalled.

While trying to find a solution, Indalesio is contacted by a friend who works on construction sites in Australia. He decides to give it a try, even though he has no experience in this field.

"I have never worked on a construction site before. It's hard to work and play football. " Although he doesn't know a word of English, Florent decides to take a picture in work clothes and applies for a job on an ad site.

"They called me three days later at 5 or 6 in the morning. The man told me I had to go work for him. I didn't know English and had to use Google Translate. I started watching the other workers and learning. In English, I only knew "Hello" and "How are you?" My boss was Irish, we became good friends with him. He could see that I was working hard. I was very tired. I got up at 5:00 and went to the construction site. Sometimes I didn't even have time to rest. Only bricks, bricks, bricks. My boss gave me 30 minutes for lunch and then I went back to work.

Despite long work shifts, Indalesio does not give up football. However, he cannot play in official matches in Australia, because the clubs there have the right to take only two foreign players per season.

"I found a team in June. However, the season in the second and third divisions of Australia is only six months. They told me that they have already taken two foreign players and they will have to release someone. I told them I would be back next season. And so it happened. They paid me. He was a good team with good people. I didn't play for money. They paid me simply because I was good on the field. I played for fun.

A chat with his former teenage teammate Saint-Maxim will forever change Florent's life.

Alan asked me how I was. How is life in Australia and am I happy. I told him I was happy in Australia, but I work as a bricklayer and I don't want to do it all my life. I just wanted to play football. He offered me to go to England after the end of the season and help me find a team. It wasn't about Newcastle either. He just told me that he would try to find me a club, even if he was in the lower divisions. "

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, football in Australia has been stopped. For Indalesio, all that remains is his job as a bricklayer: "I didn't feel very happy. It is good to do something else after the work week. It was difficult without football. Talks with St. Maximus continued. He told me to come and that he would take care of me. I agreed, booked a flight and went to England.

Alan St. Maximus welcomed me to his home and we lived together for two months.

"We had a great relationship. He never changed. Some players will forget you as soon as they succeed, but not Alan. He had talked to Newcastle and asked if I had a chance to go to rehearsals. I played well and in the last week of rehearsals I remember that I did my best. I scored at every workout. I told myself that I had to mark every day. Then I scored with back scissors.

At the end of last year, Florent received a one-year contract with Newcastle.

"I was just happy. My life has changed completely. All I wanted was to play football. That's exactly what happened. "

Since being in Newcastle, Indalesio has fought for the starting place in the U23 team.

"Things are fine in England. There is a lot of rain. This is the time there. I like being here. For me, England is the country of football. The Premier League is the best in Europe. The championship is also at a very high level. If you don't run and give away in England, you won't play. That's why many foreigners come here and fail. They just don't want to work hard. It's not just about skills, it's about mentality. You have to work 100% all the time. Remember my words. One day I will play in the Premier League or Championship. I will not leave England until I succeed. I don't care that in other countries they can pay me more. I want to play here. If I have to play in League 2 next season, I will, I don't mind. I don't care at all. Believe me… Now I just play, and one day I will compete at the highest level. I believe in myself and in my qualities ",   

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