From a refugee fleeing war and starvation to one of the best left-backs on the planet.
This is the rise of Alphonso Davies.
Alphonso Davies was born in a refugee camp in Ghana before moving to Canada at the age of five.
His parents had fled Liberia to escape civil war.
Today he’s the best left-back in the world.
Alphonso Davies’ stellar first season at Bayern Munich caught the eye and earned him a new five-year deal – but his determination to succeed was forged in an upbringing shaped by war and poverty.
From moving across the world to start a new life aged five, to being chased by Manchester United, to rewriting the books of sporting history in North America and now shining in Germany, here is the story of Alphonso Davies, as told by some of the people who know him best.
“If I look back, where we came from, a refugee camp with no food, no clothes, and now here we are today. I’m proud of him.”
The year is 2000, but there is little fanfare for a new millennium in Buduburam. This Ghanaian refugee camp, often compared to a prison by its residents, is a haven for immigrants from neighbouring Liberia, fleeing a second civil war in a decade.
Most people here have harrowing tales to tell – many too graphic to recall, some to even consider. But one ray of happiness belongs to two of the camp’s newest residents, Debeah and Victoria Davies, who have just given birth to a son, Alphonso.
The thought of bringing up their newborn in their home country, in an environment where carrying a gun has become a necessity, is too much to bear. “At home in Liberia, you had to cross over bodies to go and find food,” Victoria later recalls. “It was very scary. The best thing was to get out.”
But for the first years of his life, Alphonso Davies will go without school, sometimes with scant food too, with the young family’s minimal income barely enough to support them all.
“It was safe in Ghana,” says Debeah years on, looking back more fondly than he might on the family’s time in Buduburam. “But it was hard to live there. We were worried; people starve in the camp, not just in the war zone.
“For us, we can drink water and sleep. But Alphonso couldn’t make it. Every day we had to make sure we had something for him to make it in life.”
Bayern bought Sané, Alphonso Davies, Süle, Goretzka, Gnabry, Kimmich, Lewandowski, Thiago, Coman & Boateng for less money (£139.6m) than the £142m Barcelona paid for Coutinho.
“My dad really liked Didier Drogba and there was always a Chelsea game on when I was growing up.”
Alphonso Davies said.