In a column for The Players’ Tribune, Federico Valverde shared the captivating story of the day that changed his life forever. The talented footballer, now a pivotal part of Real Madrid’s midfield, recounted the surreal moment when he joined Los Blancos.
The midfielder began the story on the backdrop of the South American Under-17 Championship.
“I was playing at the South American Under-17 Championship in Paraguay and got the call that changed my whole life,” Valverde revealed.
As he relaxed in his hotel room, a call from his mother would mark the beginning of a fairy-tale journey. “Hey, come to our room right now. There are some people here who want to talk to you. Fede, come now. These men are from Real Madrid,” Valverde’s mother said.
In sheer disbelief, the young footballer rushed to his parents’ room, suspecting a prank. However, upon arrival, he was greeted by two strangers speaking Castilian, not South American Spanish, confirming the gravity of the situation.
“They’re not from around here. Is this real?” Valverde questioned, still grappling with the enormity of the moment.
The representatives from Real Madrid wasted no time expressing their interest, telling him, “We believe that you can become a star for us. We want you and your parents to move over to Madrid.”
Needless to say, Valverde was left astounded. “There are 500,000 players in the world, and Madrid wants to sign me? What?” he exclaimed,” he said at that moment.
His mother, with tears in her eyes, reassured him, “Shut up, Fede. We are not messing with you.”
Valverde took no time sharing this news with his father, who initially dismissed it as an absurd claim. “Madrid is here? Up in the room? Well, what are you doing down here? Get back up there, you idiot!” his father said.
“That was the first perfect day of my life,” Valverde noted. “Looking back at my life, I’ve had 3 perfect days. The first was the day that Real Madrid came calling for me, the 2nd was the day my son Benicio was born, the 3rd was the day my son Bautista was born.”
The Uruguayan international hasn’t had to look back since and has now become a key component in the Real Madrid squad.
Valverde on joining RM Castilla
Federico Valverde started his Real Madrid career by joining RM Castilla. The midfielder recalled the moment he entered the dressing room for the first time and how he was overwhelmed.
“After my first training session with Real Madrid Castilla, I came into the dressing room like I was walking on clouds. I was so confident. Vamos. I don’t even remember anything about training,” he said.
“It was a blur. But I do remember afterwards, everybody was getting dressed, and I’m looking around, taking it all in and then I actually start noticing what everybody is wearing,” he added.
Valverde on Baena
Moving on from his early days at Real Madrid, Federico Valverde also talked about the Alex Baena incident.
Earlier this year, an alleged assault incident occurred between Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde and Villarreal winger Alex Baena. It was reported that Valverde punched Baena in the car park of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium after the match.
“Everyone knows the headlines. They know both sides of the ‘story.’ I don’t want to bring up these ugly things again. All I want to say is this,” Valverde said.
“On a football pitch, you can call me almost anything, and it doesn’t bother me. I’m Uruguayan, for God’s sake. But there are certain lines that you do not cross. Not as a footballer, but as another human being,” Valverde added, addressing the boundaries that were allegedly breached during the confrontation.
“Speak about my family, and it’s not football anymore. A line was crossed that day,” the midfielder further said.
“Should I have reacted? Maybe not. Maybe I should have gone home and had a burger with my son — eat some chicken nuggets and watch cartoons. But I am a human being, and sometimes you have to stand up for yourself, and for your family,” he added.
Needless to say, the incident caused quite an uproar within Spanish football. And so it happens, Valverde had the chance to have a last say on the matter, as he provided some important insights into the confrontation.
On Arsenal trial
It is no secret that before joining Real Madrid, Valverde could have ended up playing for Arsenal. The midfielder even had a trial with the north London club when he was 16, but the move did not go through.
Opening up about it, the Uruguayan stated: “It’s nothing against Arsenal, but I never wanted to go to England. At that time, the business side of football took over. Certain people were telling me, ‘Who wouldn’t want to go play for Arsenal? You want to stay here in Uruguay? That’s crazy!’”
“They sent me on trial to London for a week, and I just wasn’t comfortable. If you only think of material things, it sounds great. But we are not robots. The reality was that my family couldn’t come to London with me. I’d have to live alone, not speaking the language, at 16 years old.”
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo