Netherlands star omitted last name in football due to absentee father’s grief

In most of the football world, with few exceptions, notably among Latinos, it is the player’s last name that goes on the shirt and makes him famous. The star of the French national team is known for Mbappé, not for Kylian. England’s top scorer is Kane, not Harry. Memphis Depay, number 10 from the Netherlands, is an exception.

He even uses his full name on social media, as usual in football, but he insists on having only his first name on the back of his shirt: Memphis. The reason is a grief from the father, from whom he inherited the last name, who became absent after the mother and father separated, when the player was four years old.

Currently, the two even have a relationship, but Memphis does not hide how bad it was for him not to have his father around. “Now we’re fine. When I was 22, I forgave him. He’s not a bad guy, he just didn’t take responsibility, and he knows it. For a long time I was angry, because you get asked a lot about it . In interviews, in the middle of football, people make fun of it, but at the end of the day that’s going to make me a good dad when I’m a dad,” Memphis said in a 2020 interview.

“Well, he showed me what I have to do, the best, what I don’t have to do, to be a good father. I’m very proud of myself, and he’s the one who missed out on a lot of things,” he continued.

Ghanaian root

Dennis Depay, the father of the Dutch star, is Ghanaian, immigrated to the Netherlands, married local Cora Schensema, and their relationship resulted in Memphis. Despite the fact that his father, after the divorce, moved away from the family, the player did not move away from his Ghanaian roots.

He chose to play for the Dutch national team, the country where he was born, raised and trained as an athlete, but maintained ties with Ghana. During his last vacation, he visited the country, as he does with some regularity, and even met with President Nana Akufo-Addo.

“Grateful to meet the president of a country I love so much. Coming home is always amazing and Ghana is the future so stay tuned,” he wrote on Twitter. On social media, he has also allowed himself to be photographed on a yacht flying the flags of Ghana and the Netherlands. In addition to him, midfielder Cody Gakpo, another star of the Dutch national team, also has Ghanaian descent.

Highs and lows

At the age of 28, Memphis has impressive numbers with the Netherlands shirt. With 43 goals, he is seven short of overtaking Robin van Persie to become the Orange national team’s all-time top goalscorer. And, with 15 more appearances, he will enter the list of the 10 players who played the most for the national team. If he remains in the team for another World Cup cycle, he has everything to approach, if not pass, Van de Sar and Sneijder at the top of the list.

Despite this, he still hasn’t shown himself to be the player he promised to be at the beginning of his career. After playing for all of the Netherlands’ youth teams and appearing well at PSV Eindhoven, he was sold to Manchester United for £25m in one of the biggest transfers of the year.

But the Dutchman did not perform as expected. He only scored two goals and left through the back door, sold to Lyon. In France, in four years, he found good football again. He scored almost a goal per game and again attracted the attention of giants in Europe. He ended up agreeing with Barcelona for the 2021/2022 season.

Owner of the number 9 shirt, he was on the bench for most of the season, but still scored 12 goals in the Spanish Championship. With the arrival of Raphinha and Lewandowski, he started to have even less space, even more so because he spent more than a month injured. With Van Gaal’s confidence, he was called up for the Cup, started on the bench, but became a starter in the campaign and scored one of the winning goals against the USA.

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