We all want to believe in the dream of working hard and being given an opportunity and with just a little luck, we could become richer, even famous. These rags to riches stories have been featured in movies, books and to an extent, in real life.

Sports are frequently the catalyst for such stories. Some athletes literally came from nothing and made their way to the top of the world. Here are some of the most inspiring rags to riches stories in sports.

Diego Maradona

The soccer star was one of the most beloved players to have ever graced the field. His plays are legendary but his past was not something you would want.

Born in a family of 8 children, he was always with a full belly, but that came at a price. His father had to work long shifts which started at 4am. Living in Buenos Aires and without much to your name is difficult enough.

Fortunately for Maradona, he not only tried hard, but was immensely talented at soccer.

Novak Djokovic

Though Djokovic’s parents owned a pizza store, the war torn Serbia post Yugoslavian breakup in the 90s was not a favorable place for anybody. The start of the 90s and the end of the 90s had seen Serbia in two different wars, which made Djokovic’s life more difficult. Dedicated as he was, he played tennis whenever he could, including in empty swimming pools in Belgrade, to practice as much as possible. Today, he is the world number 1 on the ATP ladder, but that success came after multiple struggles.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Everybody has heard of this soccer superstar. A currently active star who is worth a lot of money and is playing as good as he always had, a success story if there ever was one. Yet, like most athletes, he came from relative poverty. Sharing a room with his brother and sister, you can imagine what it was like, living in Portugal. His mother a cook, father a gardener, keeping everybody fed and dressed was a struggle. Fast forward two decades and you have one of the most iconic soccer players.

Michael Oher

Football stories are about as entertaining as soccer ones. Oher was born into a family of 12 children, the most of anybody on the list. But that is not the worst of it. His mother, a drug addict, struggled to find food and his father was visiting jails more often than not. That made his youth years more than troublesome.

After being adopted, Oher did not let his past decide his future. He is one of the most recognizable football stars today, one who overcame a lot of struggle to get there.

Mohammad Salah

Salah is one of the star soccer players who helped elevate his team to a Champions League title, namely Liverpool. Salah hails from Egypt, a dusty village where nobody would have thought that the kid kicking balls would go to become a soccer star player. Uninterested in formal education, Salah decided from an early age that soccer was the way to go. It turned out great.

Sports give enough opportunities to everyone who is willing to work hard and smart. These players came from almost nothing and turned their world around. These are some of the most inspiring rags to riches stories in sports.