Reality TV show footballer signed by Inter Milan had a long career after claiming Champions League winners medal
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A footballer who gained a contract at Inter Milan through a reality show, and even claimed a Champions League medal, has enjoyed a long career despite getting his chance in the game through a slightly unusual path.
Ben Greenhalgh beat off competition from 2,000 other aspiring footballers to earn a six-month professional contract with the Italian giants – managed at the time by Jose Mourinho – on the TV show Football’s Next Star.
Given this opportunity at just 17-years-old, the winger should have had the world at his feet.
Nowadays, he’s in non-league football back in the UK – a far cry from the San Siro – but has still had a decent career in football.
Still aged only 30, it’s not over either.
Speaking to the Daily Mail about his time on the footy reality show, Greenhalgh once said: “We were chucked in a mansion, cameras everywhere, a bunch of boys who'd never met each other before. Realistically, we were living the dream.”
After winning the show, Greenhalgh ended up with Inter Milan’s first team in 2009-10 which was the year the side secured an historic treble.
Despite the fact that he didn’t play, Greenhalgh managed to get his hands on a Champions League medal.
He explained: “To this day, those memories you can't compete with,
"I was quite level-headed when training with the first-team, I knew where I was and where they were.
“Everyone was so respectful of Mourinho.
“Those he didn't like, he'd freeze out."
After Inter, he had a successful time in the Italian third division with Como, before returning to England and playing with a number of non-league teams.
He also spent time up in Scotland with both Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Stenhousemuir.
Now, he’s at Margate in the Isthmian League Premier Division, as both a player and a coach.
His time in Scotland is the time he remembers with most fondness, though.
At the time, England legend Terry Butcher was the coach, and Greenhalgh credits him with fostering a good atmosphere at Caley Thistle.
"If anyone asks me what my best time in football was, I'd say it was Inverness,” he said.
"We were in the middle of nowhere, we saw each other every day and the best thing was Terry Butcher bought into the culture of the changing room.
"The changing room matters. Terry was one of the most honest, most truthful men. You did not want to do wrong by him or let him down."
According to an article published by The Sun, Greenhalgh wants to keep playing the game until he is 40-years-old, and has been taking further coaching qualifications.
It’s been a long and interesting road from the telly, then to Milan, and now to Margate, it would seem.