Development of footballers like every other child needs both parents. Boys, for instance, need their fathers for some important skills that make up a man. They include identity and affirmation. These roles might sound simple but they do trouble many teenage boys. So when a boy is raised by a single mother, it is a serious challenge.
Today, we look at five famous footballers who are success stories when it comes to single parenthood.
5. Arturo Vidal- Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich and Chile star Arturo Vidal was raised by his mother Jacqueline Pardo in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Chile Capital.
Vidal father Erasmo Vidal separated with his mother when he was only 5 years. This happened after an altercation involving a bed his parents used at the time. Vidal was forced to become the ‘Man of the house’ to help out his mum who was working as a cleaner.
Vidal has been the breadwinner for his family ever since. In an interview with Sportsmail Vidal said:
‘My mother has worked so hard,’ he said. ‘Of course, I help with everything I can. I feel responsible for my younger brothers and long assumed a parental role, I’m like a father and a model figure, I really like it and I do fondly.’
4. Memphis Depay- Lyon
Former Manchester United star Memphis Depay was also raised by his mother. His father left them when he was only four years old. When he signed for the Red Devils, he revealed why he does not want to print ‘Depay’ in his shirt. This is because he does not recognize his father contribution in his life.
“Those things are a part of my life. It is not a part of football. It is a different thing. I have a life next to football,” said Memphis.
3. Alexis Sanchez- Arsenal
Arsenal and Chilean star Alexis Sanchez is a great player today known all over the World.However, according to his recent interview, things were bad when he was growing up.
The former Barcelona revealed that his father abandoned his family when he was only five years old leaving his mother to take care of them. He says things got so bad that he could not even afford football boots. He used to borrow from friends. He was given his first pair by the Mayor of Tocopila after scoring eight goals in a single match at U-14 level.
He also said that the reason why England can’t go far in the World Cup is that players are too soft;
‘’ I used to wash cars for such little money just so I had enough money to buy my football boots. When you are at academies like Manchester United and Arsenal, then everything is just given to you.” “My family was so poor that football for me was about survival. I told my mother from a young age, ‘Don’t worry, I will become a football player and get us out of this situation’.
“If I had failed, I would be working 15-hour days on construction sites and still not be earning enough to live. Football saved me, and I don’t think any England players could say that’’ said Sanchez.
2. Luis Suarez- Barcelona
Barcelona and Uruguay striker is without a doubt one of the best strikers in the World today. However, have you ever known he grew up without a father? His parents separated when he was nine years. It was his mum who did all the work after that to get the forward where he is today. He has seen some controversies in recent years especially in regard to biting but that aside he is a great striker.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo- Real Madrid
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was raised by his mother Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro. His father was a serious drunkard who contributed nothing in his life.
However, the mother recently admitted that she almost aborted Ronaldo when she discovered the pregnancy but later changed her mind.
Maria Dolores said: “He is a child that I wanted to abort. God didn’t want that to happen and I was blessed because of that and God didn’t punish me. Sometimes Ronaldo makes fun of me and says ‘You didn’t want me to be born. But now you see that I’m here helping all of you.’ And, well, sometimes we have a laugh about that.”
In relation to the absent father Ronaldo says he was always drunk, “He would drink nearly every day,” said Ronaldo. “It frustrates me that he was never able to see my successes.”
Ronaldo recently helped Portugal their first ever trophy when they won Euro 2016 in France. He has won FIFA Ballon d’Or award three times, plus all trophies available at the club level for both Real Madrid and Manchester United.