Visitors to Montmartre in Paris are sure to see a footballer drawing crowds in anticipation as he juggles a football, while hanging from a lamppost.
Football has been a passion for Iya Traoré, who grew up watching his favorite players such as Maradona and Ronaldinho.
Once arriving in Paris in 2000 to study, Traoré went on to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer and made it his mission to convince some of the city’s football clubs to sign him up.
After several stints with junior league clubs, Paris Saint-Germain, asked him to join their under 18 team. Traoré was fortunate to meet Ronaldinho who was playing with the professionals in the same club.
After a year, the club let Traoré go and other applications he submitted fell through so he carried on working with his father at a local shop in Paris.
Traoré passion for football remained strong, and he took a ball to the Eiffel Tower and started doing kick-ups or keepy-ups in front of tourists, who would demonstrate how impressed they are wit his skills by leaving tips in his hat.
It was on an outing to the Eiffel Tower that Traoré found tourist would take pictures of him when performing tricks with his ball. He decided to visit other sites around the city and work out his technique to draw crowds.
Eventually, he made Montmartre in northern Paris the central location to perform. One part of his show that peeks the interest of the crowd is when he climbs a streetlight while juggling a football with his head and limbs.
Traoré’s shows aren’t just for the tourists in Paris as he has toured the world from Japan to Dubai, appearing in TV shows and music videos. He has even appeared in music videos for Shakira in 2014.
Although his passion is for playing football, his passion for the sport and his love of Montmartre are enough to keep him going.
Photo by Patrick Müller//Flickr