Let’s not cloud the facts. Real Madrid were reigning champions and were the bookies favourites to win. Real Madrid have the players, the money and the power to regularly contend for the champions league final. Liverpool on the other hand were coming from a lower base, albeit one where they were lighting up the premier league with some electric football. Despite being underdogs, they were fancied by many in the football world, as over 160 million viewers waited in anticipation of a cliff-hanger.
Great athletes inspire. Kids make them their idols and dream of one day emulating them while adults thrill at the sight of watching the very best. Lesser athletes, through lack of ability may never become as good as the champions, but they strive to improve themselves copying their behaviours or what they know of them.
There is a group often overlooked however. Only a certain volume can make it to the elite, but there is a wide layer hovering below the line that are almost as talented (sometimes even more so) that we never hear of. These, we know generally as the “nearly men” – The ones equally talented growing up but fail to reach their potential and end up in the lower leagues.
So what is it about those that make it as opposed to those that don’t just quite get there?
Performance psychologist - accredited with Irish Institute of Sport