Federico Valverde’s Candid Reflections: A Glimpse into the Realities of Football’s Business Side

In a heartfelt account on The Player’s Tribune, Federico Valverde opens up about the stories surrounding his almost move to Arsenal at the age of 16. While acknowledging the allure of such a prospect, Valverde reveals the underlying complexities that often go unnoticed in football’s business dealings.

Valverde emphasizes that, at a young age, players can feel more like hostages, with their lives and decisions dictated by external pressures. The promise of a better life through football becomes a double-edged sword, with vultures exploiting the dreams of young talents for financial gain.

The Uruguayan midfielder sheds light on the unspoken pressures and manipulations faced by young players, where material comforts are used to mask the challenges of relocation. Valverde’s trial in London with Arsenal brought to the forefront the stark reality that footballers, especially from regions like South America, are often subjected to external pressures.

The decision-making process extends beyond individual desires, involving families who become unwitting hostages to the football business. Valverde’s discomfort during the trial stemmed not from a lack of appreciation for the opportunities but from the harsh realities of living alone in a foreign country at the tender age of 16.

In concluding his reflection, Valverde emphasizes that, for every success story of a player moving overseas, there are countless others who face difficulties and challenges. His journey ultimately took a different turn when Real Madrid signed him in 2016 before his 17th birthday for €5 million, marking the beginning of a remarkable chapter in his career. Valverde’s account serves as a poignant reminder of the human side of football, where dreams and aspirations are intricately woven into the fabric of a complex and often unforgiving business.

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