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

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Kinetic Foundation owner, Harry Hudson has 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 seen as better role models because they post flashy cars and designers but insisted Aribo held more in terms of a good example.

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

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

“They are the two things they’ll look up to. Some of the footballers are negative role models. Even if I look at someone like Karim Benzema and what he releases on social media. It’s a mini film of him driving mad cars with Balenciaga shoes and £200k watches and that’s what the 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 on day one they get drawn in because we say ‘we can’t make you a pro footballer and never can, we can give you the best platform and opportunity to see where it’ll take you’. We don’t sell dreams but it’s what hooks them in.

“Over the next two years we worked really hard behind the scenes about plan B. It’s hard to do that when for the last 16 years they think success is driving a Range Rover.

“Most of the time it’s unattainable for that to be the case. If they don’t make it as a footballer they have to think of a menial job and you’re not going to drive a Range Rover.

“The only other people they see that have that material worth are drug dealers or gangsters. They could go and sell drugs for £250 a day cash and they’re never going to get that money in a menial job and we just try to build them to realise that’s not the right lifestyle choice to make.

“In terms of role models, it’s good to have people like Joe who don’t always post about cars, holidays and all the material things. He’s very religious, talks about God and being grounded. That’s 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 have any claim on helping him. He was always a very quiet and very nice young man and that’s credit to his upbringing. Hopefully along the way we might have helped but Joe was always a lovely young man. I don’t know what I would do if I was all of a sudden getting £5k a week at 18. It’s difficult.

“I had a great upbringing and I’ll never shy away from that but if I had been given silly money from a young age it must be difficult to stay grounded. Deep down Joe was always a wonderful young man and it hasn’t changed him being wildly successful.”

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