African Footballer of the Year 2017: Victor Moses profile

That Victor Moses had the perseverance to make a success of his Chelsea career despite being continually sent out on loan says a great deal about his character.

Yet this determination pales into insignificance when compared to the biggest mountain he has had to climb.

Moses was just 11 when he arrived in England as an asylum seeker after both his mother and father were killed during religious clashes in Nigeria in 2002.

The 26-year-old was playing football in the streets when his parents lost their lives. Just a week later, his remaining family had cobbled together enough money to send him away from his homeland.

That is how a quiet, unassuming and non-English speaking African orphan found himself in south London and at the start of a dramatic change in his fortunes.

“It was tough in the beginning – being suddenly thrown into a different culture and stuff like that,” Moses told BBC Sport.

“As a young boy in a new country, you had to make new friends and that was really difficult. When I first came, I couldn’t even speak the language.”

Having been placed with foster parents, Moses was sent to school in South Norwood, which was close to an asylum support and immigration centre in Croydon.

Moses lifts the Premier League trophy after coach Antonio Conte turned him into a vital cog in the Chelsea machine

“When I started going to school, I started getting used to things, like the language,” said Moses. “After that, I started adapting to school, friends and everything.

“It was really difficult to start with but I survived.”

More than just surviving, the player has thrived in his second home.

Today Moses boasts Premier League, Europa League and Africa Cup of Nations winners’ medals, and has also played in both the Champions League and World Cup.

The first tentative steps on the road of this blossoming career were taken shortly after arriving in London. As is common in young Nigerians, Moses played football for fun and his enthusiasm and prowess on the pitch soon led to him catching the attentions of Cosmos 90 FC, a team which played in a nearby youth league.

“At 13 it was my first contact with organised football and when they saw the way I was playing with the other kids and around the park, they knew I had talent,” said Moses.

The Sunday League side had been struggling at the time but Moses’ arrival soon turned the club’s fortunes around and word rapidly spread about the dazzling African talent playing on the pitches of south London. Hundreds started watching Cosmos’ games.

“It was Cosmos who actually told Crystal Palace about me,” added Moses. “Palace came to have a look, liked what they saw and they took it from there.”

Impressing on trial, Moses signed a schoolboy contract with the south London club.

Moses won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, 19 years after the Super Eagles’ last title

Palace then placed the teenager in one of Croydon’s best private schools, Whitgift