From five to seven years old, Martin Braithwaite is stuck in a wheelchair. A passage in his life that has left a lasting mark on him, as the Barça striker testifies to CNN.
From joker surprise to credible holder alongside Lionel Messi at Barça, Martin Braithwaite relishes the surprising and unexpected turn that his career has taken. And he savored it all the more because the Dane lived through a lot of hardship. Braithwaite has come back from afar, after “quite a trip”. It is a memory of his earliest childhood that the former Toulouse striker has kept at the bottom of his memory.
Stuck in a wheelchair, he watches his friends have fun. “I don’t have a lot of memories, it’s such a sad moment,” Martin Braithwaite told CNN. Affected between the ages of five and seven by Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, which can cause serious damage to the hip, and sometimes requires his complete immobilization during treatment, he internally suffers from his physical limitations.
“You look at all the other children running around, smiling, playing. It hurts, he says of this defining period in his life. It was a very difficult period in my life. I remember. a feeling of… (hesitates) of embarrassment… that feeling of being different. You didn’t want that kind of attention. ” Resilient in the face of hardship, Braithwaite never ceases to dream of a starry future.
“I always wanted to be a football player, explains the 29-year-old Danish striker today. Since I was very young, I had nothing else in mind. I had no plan B . When there is no plan B, you don’t get distracted. ” After a modest start to his career, fate knocks on his door without being prepared.
Barça, a not-so-well-kept secret
“I was picking up my son after soccer practice and we were driving home. My agent called me and told me FC Barcelona were interested. He said they seemed really very interested. “. Braithwaite could hardly contain his excitement at the time, but more than a decade in the business had prepared him to handle this influx of emotion.
“It was amazing. But I know in football, when there is interest, it doesn’t mean anything. There is still a long way to go before signing the papers,” he recalls. he. Then it was an atrocious fortnight to have to wait, during which the talks continued. Life had to go on as if nothing had happened.
Martin Braithwaite trains and plays for Leganes, he does his best to hide the negotiations from everyone, even his wife. “I’m not a guy who keeps a lot of secrets, I really am an open book. My wife feels that something is going on because I hide the phone calls from her,” he says.
It is finally the phone of his companion that will ring on D-Day, and on which she will see the news appear. End of suspense: “It was a very emotional moment for both of us, because I had been talking about it for a long time. And she saw all the sacrifices I made to get there.”