Arat Hosseini, a footballer in the making
Six-year-old Arat Hosseini has become a social media sensation
He has more than four million followers on Instagram
Arat is hoping to become the youngest player to feature in the World Cup
It never occurred to Mohamed Hosseini that his son, Arat, who was born on 30 September 2013, would one day become a social media sensation. But that is precisely what he is now, as more than four million followers on Instagram can attest.
Still only six, Arat has become the talk of football fans everywhere thanks to the incredible skills that have prompted a host of football stars, including Lionel Messi, to praise his talent and signal a very promising future.
FIFA.com caught up with Arat’s father, who discussed his son’s talent, his expectations for him and his son’s dream of becoming the best footballer in the world.
From gymnastics to football
Arat's talent is not limited to football. Anyone who sees his diminutive physique cannot fail to notice his toned stomach muscles and firm hands. Mohamed discovered that his son had unusually strong hands when he was three months old, which encouraged him to enroll Arat in gymnastics classes.
"When Arat was a little boy he was constantly moving and was always active. He started doing gymnastics even before I brought him to a small club. He was very enthusiastic. He was five at that time and I encouraged him and sought better opportunities for him. He’s been always passionate about sports,” Mohamed revealed.
Asked about the global fame his son achieved, he said: "Arat became well-known in Asia as a gymnast when he was very young. When he started playing football, more people around the world started to watch him, and we got a chance to talk to many people including celebrities like DJ Khaled and Novak Djokovic. Arat is now considered a role model for kids, which is great.”
Mohamed recognises the pros and cons of fame, especially on social media, something he advises his son on.
"I talk to Arat about the positive responses we get to his videos, and I use that to motivate him to achieve his goals. However, at the same time it’s very important to protect children from the downsides of social media. After all, he’s still a child who is growing up and learning as education is very important for us,” he said.
It appears that the massive popularity that Arat has achieved through his distinctive social media videos is just a step towards a bigger goal for father and son.
Asked about this, Mohammed said: “Arat wants to be the best player in the world. At the same time, we’ll provide him with the best education and training and will take concrete steps in that direction.”
As for his expectations for his six-year-old son, Mohamed said: "I’m sure he’ll become a great player. He’s very talented and self-motivated. It’s a long journey and we’ll maintain our focus to achieve our goal. He’ll be the youngest player to appear at the World Cup.”
"We’re thinking about the future and the steps we can take. Nothing will stop us. Arat loves school and football. He’s currently training with the Liverpool FC Academy and wants to be the best player in the world. So I’m doing all I can to help him,” he added.
No one knows what the future holds for Arat and if he will manage to realise these dreams. But what is certain is that Arat’s special talents have caught the attention of football fans the world over.