Memphis Depay The Unusual Football Player
His father was gone early, the step-siblings beat him, at some point he dealt with drugs. Memphis Depays Youth was littered with problems. Today he is one of the big stars at Olympique Lyon.
The door has been kicked in, clearly. “Quick to the kitchen,” says one of the three boys. Check if the cocaine is still there. None. Disappointment. One of two this evening. But clearly the more frightening.
“These guys obviously knew where the drugs were hidden, dangerous things that could have gotten completely out of control,” writes Memphis Depay in his recent autobiography. Back then, on July 11, 2010, Olympique Lyon superstar had just returned to the house with one of his buddies and cousin. They watched the World Cup final, Holland against Spain. Unfortunately, with a poor finish for Oranje, as you know.
At the time, Depay was 16 years old, already a celebrated talent in the offspring of PSV Eindhoven, one with a bride future. But at the same time he was dealing with drugs. And only “light drugs”, no cocaine. Nevertheless, he was in close contact with the scene.
It was a strange time. “Footballers I looked up to were playing the World Cup Final, the stage I dreamed of, and at the same time I came to a world miles away from them. […] I was hanging out with gangsters, chilling with a kilo of cocaine on the table, “Depay writes. One of those guys was the cousin of his buddy who hid the coke in his kitchen on the final night.
Memphis Depay: “I Did Things A Boy Should Not Do At This Age”
At the time, the 25-year-old Dutch international is on the verge of finally going off track. “I was out in the street until late in the evening, doing things that a boy at this age would rather not do,” he said on a recent TV show. “My talent definitely saved me, and I’ve always done what I was supposed to do on the football field.”
When Depay was three years old, his Ghanaian father disappeared, leaving his son and his Dutch mother alone in Moordrecht, a small town in the province of South Holland. That’s why Depay prefers to use his first name Memphis as his surname on the jersey. He has had little contact with his father ever since.
His life was turned upside down early. His mother did not have a job, so the money was always short – Jake Schensema, Depay’s cousin.
At age nine Memphis moved with his mother to their new partner. There he suddenly had 15 step-siblings who mobbed him, beat him, insulted him. In his book he remembers how he was crying under his desk at school. For fear of having to go home.
Memphis Depay: They Called Me A Monkey
“They called me a monkey, a carcinoma, a boxer’s face,” he says. “Several times I was threatened with a knife and once one of the guys clamped a pair of pliers to my ear and squeezed hard.” Depay’s mother initially had nothing to do with bullying her son, but increasingly she noticed changes: “He was getting calmer and calmer,” she says.
It must have been like a release for Memphis when, after some time, his mother separated from her boyfriend.
However, the problems did not end there. At the age of twelve, he drank alcohol, became more and more introverted. He almost did not trust anyone anymore and finally started to deal with weed. And then died his grandfather Cees, his most important male role model when he was 15. “The two were inseparable,” says Depay’s cousin Jake. And Memphis: “This man gave me so much strength and took good care of me, at that moment I said to myself: ‘I have to do it, I know where I want to go: to the top’.”
From then on Depay went on his way even more resolutely. The domestic anguish, the mistreatment, the petty crimes of misconduct – all of that had never really affected him in a way as a footballer. “Of course I sometimes worried about his behavior,” says Rini de Groot, chief scout of PSV Eindhoven. “But he had that top athletic mentality, that was wonderful.”
Memphis Depays Goals: Real Madrid And Ballon d’Or
At the age of twelve, he moved to Eindhoven and at 15 he was allowed to quit school. At the age of 18 he made his debut for the first team in the Eredivisie. Since then, he has left his past behind and has now completed nearly 50 international appearances. But he still has many goals.
“I’m not even halfway through what I want to achieve,” he emphasizes. “That’s a nice list, play for Real Madrid, win the Champions League, get the Ballon d’Or, have 100 million euros on my account when my career is over, make a name for myself in music, film and fashion. Start a family, do good in Ghana and other countries, I’ll climb mountains how heigh I can not even imagine.”
Sounds like a plan. A better plan then back then, on July 11, 2010. When Memphis went out with his buddy and cousin to watch the World Cup final. And a kilo of cocaine was hidden in the kitchen.