Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez has admitted that if he had not become a professional footballer, he could have turned to a life of crime and drugs.
The Argentine international was born in a poverty-stricken neighbourhood of Buenos Aires called Fuerte Apache before leaving the area to embark on a career in football.
Tevez is currently back in his homeland, representing the national side at this summer's Copa America, with the 27-year-old extremely thankful for the opportunity football has given him to flee poverty.
"If it wasn't for football, I would have ended up like many boys in my neighbourhood - dead, in jail or lying in the street drugged up," the former Boca Juniors forward told magazine La Garganta Poderosa.
"I don't think anyone is born to be a thief, but all this inequality [in Argentina] means that many kids go on stealing. Living in poverty is difficult, and one can easily fall into looking for easy money [by stealing]."
Tevez has been in the media spotlight this summer after requesting a transfer from Manchester City, with the player looking to be closer to his family.
The Argentine international used the interview with the magazine to criticise the media for their portrayal of slum life.
"The media report [life in poverty] without knowing what happens in our neighbourhoods, they could not live two years on the streets here," he said.
Tevez appeared in Argentina's first two group games of the Copa America before losing his starting spot in the nation's 3-0 win over Costa Rica.
The Manchester City man will be looking to play a role key in Argentina's quarter-final encounter versus Uruguay on Saturday evening.