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Ex-Chelsea striker Demba Ba: I was Gillingham and Barnsley reject

Former Chelsea star Demba Ba has revealed he was turned down by the likes of Gillingham and Barnsley as a teenager.

Starting off in France, Ba earned himself a contract worth £900-a-month at fourth tier side Rouen - but recalls having to borrow money just to feed himself in the first month.

Speaking to The Athletic, Ba said: "My first contract at Rouen (in the French fourth division) had been for €1,063 net, per month, and I had to borrow €300 in the first month for food."

Ba had trials at the likes of Watford, Barnsley, Swansea and Gillingham as a teenager, but never ended up getting offered a deal.

The 36-year-old says the teams felt they already had players like him in the squad.

He continued: "Ninety per cent of the time, the feedback I got was, 'We have the same quality of player in the squad already.'

"They didn't realise that I was training twice a week with amateurs at the time, not six times a week with professionals.

"I was told, 'You're not good enough', but I didn't want to hear that that, to me it was, 'You're not good enough for me'.

"I just refused to give up. I remember writing letters to the top 40 clubs in France, by hand, asking for a trial.

"I never thought about rejection, only the next chance."

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