Life takes a long turn when the dreams call for it. Relatable in the case of a 14-year-old 6-feet-tall guy who earlier used to beg on the streets of Kerala and now is all set to fly high to Spain for a One month long trip alongside ‘La Liga club’ Real Madrid.
R Manikandan was rescued in 2011 and used to stay at a children’s home under the supervision of R Sreekumar. He claims that though R Manikandan is very reserved in the personality, he speaks a lot through his football.

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He used to go to the ground and along with his group, earlier used to collect the balls which crossed the fields. Later when they used to play, he was ‘accidentally spotted’ by coach MP Abhilash and was given a fair chance to play with seniors which in literal senses changed his life.

Talking about this incredibly talented boy, his coach MP Abhilash told Hindustan Times:

“I spotted him in last February. In just one year, he has improved brilliantly and I feel if he’s groomed well he will be an asset to the country,” said Abhilash, who will be accompanying Manikandan to Madrid. “His technique and agility are superb and his height adds to his prowess.


An under-16 player, Manikandan now represents the district and Football Plus Professional Soccer Academy in Chennai. Sometime back, foreign coaches spotted his talent as well and recommended his name for special training. Alongside, Manikandan is enrolled in Sree Narayana Trust Central School in Kollam and his sister is an inmate at a children’s home for girls.

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“After the month-long training in Spain, we are planning to send him to either US or Latin America for high-performance training. The recent under-17 FIFA World Cup gave a new impetus to the game and we want to exploit it to the hilt,” said Girish Nair, a patron on the Black Pearls club that is always on the lookout for young sportspersons.

Speaking for himself, he is extremely grateful for the coach who uplifted him for his passion and the supervisor of the children’s home who rescued him and gave a shelter.

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