Published: 13th May 2017
These two Guinness Record holding freestyle footballers from Chennai surely know how to have a ball. Here's how
27-year-old Pradeep Ramesh, a freestyle footballer/coach, who recently became a Guinness World Record holder alongside 21-year-old Raghul Raja talks about how his journey began as a freestyler
It was a regular windy, summer afternoon, but the crowd passing by the Thiruvanmiyur beach had an unusual spectacle on offer — two youngsters performing tricks with a football almost mimicking Instagram’s gif-like Boomerang video. “Freestyling garners more attention than the actual sport,” notes 27-year-old Pradeep Ramesh, a freestyle footballer/coach, who recently became a Guinness World Record holder alongside 21-year-old Raghul Raja. “We attempted it on December 25, 2016 and about a month ago we found out that our record has been certified. I did 284 consecutive knee touches and Raghul made 117 eye-to-eye rolls with a football. The previous records were 250 and 98 respectively,” explains an elated Pradeep.
This footballer, who has been playing since his school days, turned into a freestyle footballer after he realised that the former pays close to nothing. “I was a part of the city’s football club, but after a point I just knew that it was pointless to try a career in football without any financial support. But I didn’t want to take up a corporate job straight out of college because I knew I couldn’t do this on the side. So I told my parents that I was preparing for my exams and started focussing on freestyling. I took part in the Red Bull Street Style competition in 2012 and I made it to the world finals,” says Pradeep.
Kick that: The tricks 27-year-old Pradeep Ramesh and 21-year-old Raghul Raja do with a football are very similar to a boomerang video
Raghul who was only sixteen at the time found Pradeep on social media and requested him to mentor him. “I studied in a government school which didn’t have many facilities for sports, but I was extremely fascinated with football. I used to watch videos on the internet and learn to do tricks. That’s how I met Pradeep anna,” says Raghul.
Pradeep who runs PRSoccerArt in the city, where he coaches teenagers in freestyle football, has also worked with Bollywood personalities like Akshay Kumar and Ranveer Singh for movies like Housefull 3 and TV commercials. “We are hoping this record makes the art popular,” say the duo, who even performed at the opening ceremony of Premier Futsal and Indian Super League.
Pradeep and Raghul also run a very active YouTube channel, PRSoccerArt where they make videos of football tricks. “We put a lot of effort into our channel, right from tutorials to entertaining videos like a freestyle choreography to Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You,” says Pradeep, who also adds that they hope to make more world records in the near future.
WATCH: Here's a video of them freestyling,