He rose from humble beginnings, worked his way through the local leagues before graduating to become a major player on the international stage, netting him millions of dollars along the way.
But this isn't a tale about a footballing hero. This is a story about one of modern sport's greatest villains -- the man dubbed the most notorious match-fixer in the world.
You may not be familiar with the name Wilson Raj Perumal but given how prolific he was, you might have watched one of the games he's fixed.
"I never really counted, but I think it should be between 80-100 football matches," Perumal told CNN's Don Riddell in his first-ever television interview.
Few doors seemed to be closed to Perumal.
"I was on the bench at times, and telling players what to do, giving orders to the coach. It was that easy. There was no policing whatsoever."
Officials were just as easy to target, he boasts, with "no barriers" when approaching select referees, while certain football associations would "welcome you with open arms," he added.
It was only after his arrest and subsequent conviction in 2011 -- his fourth for football-related crimes - - that Perumal started coming clean on his former life, with the poacher-turned-gamekeeper now helping European police combat match-fixing.
In all, Perumal claims to have pocketed around $5 million himself from match-fixing.
However, he lost it all gambling, perhaps explaining why the 49-year-old recently published an autobiography, "Kelong Kings," recounting his journey from rural Singapore to football's globetrotting Mr Fix-it.
"I had my boyhood dreams. I wanted to be a soldier but during my school days I got a criminal record and couldn't really pursue what I wanted to. And then I got attracted to betting when I was about 19-20 years old," he said.
"I kind of got hooked and I didn't want to lose ... so I started fixing local matches," he says.
Perumal plied his trade in Singapore's local football leagues in the late 1980s before joining what international crime-fighting organization INTERPOL recently described as "the world's most notorious match-fixing syndicate" allegedly headed by Tan Seet Eng -- better known as "Dan Tan," who is now reportedly in detention in Singapore.
As the Internet age dawned in the mid-1990s, so Perumal's match-fixing horizons expanded.
"We could see all these matches around the world ... I had the opportunity to target vulnerable countries ... people who were prone to accept bribes," he said.
"So I registered a company and started e-mailing associations and building relationships."
'Like two hands prepared to clap'
The 49-year-old's first foray into international match-fixing -- a 1997 friendly match between Zimbabwe and Bosnia Herzegovina -- failed, he says.
Perumal alleges up to six players from the Zimbabwe team had agreed to lose the match 4-0 in return for a share of $100,000. But the game played in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia finished in a 2-2 draw.
"We gave them a result that was difficult to accomplish and what happened during the game was that one player accidentally kicked the ball into the net."
A decade later, Perumal targeted Zimbabwe again in what became known as the "Asiagate" scandal with both players and officials receiving bribes to fix a string of matches between 2007 and 2009.
"We were like two hands prepared to clap," Perumal says.
Former FIFA match-fixing investigator, Terry Steans was shocked when he was handed a FIFA case file on match-fixing in Zimbabwe in 2009.
"I read that file and thought: 'No. It can't be. It can't be this easy and it can't be this prevalent,'" Steans told CNN.
"Five years later, I know yes it was and yes it is. But that file opened our eyes and it was to set FIFA Security, at that time, on a path to try and discover as much as we could about the fixers and how prevalent and widespread they were."