Chelsea striker Demba Ba has revealed he had an unsuccessful trial with an Italian fourth division club, as he struggled to launch his professional career.
Ba, 27, has said he appreciates the success that has flowed in his direction in recent years more than most after he started at the very bottom of the football ladder, with his rise culminating in a transfer to the reigning European champions last month.
"I went for a trial in Italy, with a team in the fourth league there, and to a lot of teams in England and Belgium," Ba told the Chelsea magazine.
"I had a lot of different experiences and a lot of trials that ended up in non-decisions - in France, in England and in other countries. All these experiences have made me what I am today.
"It was simple to make all these sacrifices because, if I had not done all this, I would still be in Paris, chilling with my family and doing a normal job. Step by step, I moved forward. First to Hoffenheim, where I got promoted to the Bundesliga and had three-and-a-half good seasons, and from there, I came to England.
"I started in the Premier League in January 2011, with West Ham, who took a chance on me. Then, I was signed by Newcastle, where I spent 18 really good months and now I am at Chelsea. It is a great story.
"I've always respected the places where I have played and the shirt that I wear. I respect the shirt and I fight for it. That's my mentality. It's not only about scoring goals, but it helps you a lot and it helps the team when you do so.
"Everywhere I went, that's what I tried to do, without being selfish in front of goal, but always for the team."
Ba was speaking before sustaining a broken nose on his return to Newcastle on Saturday that will put his participation in Saturday's Premier League game against Wigan in jeopardy.