Have boots will travel: Life at the sharp end for football's pioneers

    Jorge Rodrigues, a Brazilian expatriate professional footballer, has played in leagues across the globe. He now lives in Hong Kong, where he plays for Citizen Athletic Association and coaches.

    Story highlights

    • For some, the dream of playing professional soccer takes them to obscure leagues -- and even more obscure teams
    • Adapting can be difficult, especially as expectations can be high for foreign imports
    • For many "journeymen" the rewards of playing in football's outposts outweigh the negatives

    Hong Kong (CNN)It's a gray, cold day on Hong Kong's harbor front and the smoggy haze suggests that the weather -- and the pollution -- is getting worse.

    The modest artificial football pitch looking out over the murky water is a far cry from the sporting amphitheater in the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo that Jorge Rodrigues once graced -- as a teenage prospect with the great Corinthians club, or from the Brazilian under-17's national team, where he played with Ronaldo, arguably one of the greatest footballers to have ever played the game.
      A youthful Jorge Rodrigues (far left) sits with Brazil under-17 teammate Ronaldo (far right)