Memphis Depay is the prodigy in the ranks of the Netherlands team that has taken World Cup 2014 by storm. With the possible absence of captain Robin van Persie for the team’s World Cup semifinal against Argentina in Sao Paulo at 4 p.m. on July 9.
Here’s what you need to know about Depay:
1. His Club Manager Compared Him to Cristiano Ronaldo
Depay’s manager at PSV Eindhoven, Phillip Cocu, compared his young starlet to Cristiano Ronaldo in an interview. The Daily Express reports that Cocu is trying to persuade Depay to remain in Holland for next season. Both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly interested in the winger. Cocu, though, who gave Depay is debut 2012, is hopeful his star will remain in Eindhoven.
2. Depay Made His Debut For Holland Less Than a Year Ago
Despite being a key-part of Netherlands World Cup adventure, he played in his first game for the national team in a 2013 World Cup qualifier against Turkey back in October. His record at international level is nine games played and two goals scored. Prior to make his debut at full-level, Depay had played at every youth level for the Oranje. In scoring for Netherlands in its 3-2 victory over Australia in Group A, he became the youngest ever goalscorer for his country at a World Cup.
3. He Has a Life Coach
Since becoming a professional soccer player, Depay has used a life coach. His coach has described Depay as “very angry.” A key moment in Depay’s life came when his grandfather, a huge influence on his life, died the day after his 15th birthday. Another issue for Depay was his difficult relationship with his father. In 2012, he dropped “Depay” from his jersey name, using only “Memphis.” This was because of his father’s absence during Depay’s life.
4. Depay’s Tattooed Body Has Helped to Make Him an Online Sensation
In tribute to his grandfather, Depay had a tattoo dedicated to him on his left arm. He says about it:
That man gave me a lot of strength and took great care of me. At that moment I thought to myself I’ve got to go for it. I know where I want to go, and that is the top.
His heavily tattooed frame is covered in ink, not to mention a tattoo on the inside of his lip.
5. Depay Had to Wear a Bizarre Mask During Games in 2014
Following an incident in March, Depay was forced to wear a bizarre mask during PSV games toward the end of the season. During an altercation at training, Depay received an elbow in his eye socket, he was allowed to play by the team’s medical staff but only if he wore a bizarre mask.