It’s a story of flight and resilience to become a professional footballer in one of European football’s top leagues. Of having to work three times as hard as other players because you’re “African.” And having succeeded in fulfilling that ambition not forgetting about those who have made that journey from Africa in search of a similar dream.
When the call did come to leave Ghana for Spain, an 18-year-old Thomas Partey knew he couldn’t tell anybody — not even his parents.
As the now Atletico Madrid midfielder prepares for Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Liverpool, Partey tells CNN Sport that no one else could know what was going down as his club Tema Youth would demand a transfer fee even though they were not officially entitled to one.
“I was playing in a second division team in Ghana,” Thomas says at Atletico’s training ground in suburban Madrid. “I was not registered, I just played and got my winning bonus.
“So when I got the chance to travel to Spain I didn’t want to tell anybody, not even my parents, as maybe they’d be asked where I’d gone and they’d tell. I only spoke with my agent, who did everything for me. Then I traveled to Spain.”