The Senegal striker was 26 when he signed for Newcastle in 2011. Mixing it with Europe’s biggest boys was unlikely.
But last year Chelsea came calling. The man who started out playing for lowly Rouen in France had, against all the odds, made it.
Ba said: “I had no doubts I wanted to be a footballer because that was the only option.
“Some people have many options but for me football was my only option, so I gave everything.
“It was not a sacrifice leaving the house when I was young and travelling around Europe to find a club.
“It was the only way to get to where I am today, and I am proud of that. I just kept believing in myself, doing my thing and here I am.”
In 2005, Ba and two other young stars travelled to England.
He was banging in the goals for Rouen at the time but his ambitions were far greater.
He explained: “Three of us came over looking for glory or success. It was an adventure.
“Some of the trials were planned like the ones I had at Barnsley and Swansea, while the one at Watford just happened like that.
“Unfortunately the guys I was with didn’t really make it, but I came back to France with an experience. I had learned a lot of things that helped me at the beginning of my career.
“I know why I was there, and the objective was to finish in a club like Chelsea.”
Ba eventually made a permanent move to England in 2011 with West Ham before Newcastle came calling.
Now, the hitman is helping the Blues to a Premier League title push.
He added: “If I didn’t make it I would have had to just go home, and what could I have done?
“Everything was made for these days, and now I am happy and proud.”