The Manchester City defender recently spoke to the French press about his disabled brother.
In an interview with French paper Le Parisien, Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala has discussed the inspiration that has driven him to the top.
The centre-back discussed various issues in the interview, including his feelings about being the most expensive defender in football history:
“I have to be proud, my transfer is written in the annals of football now. But it doesn’t obsess me… I aim to show that Manchester City made the right choice. The reality is on the pitch. Everyone knows that.”
The French international discussed his upbringing in Belgium, where he moved at a young age so that his brother could receive treatment following an accident that left him paralysed. He spoke openly about his feelings on his brother’s condition:
“I have to live with it. He played football before his accident. When I play a game, I play for both of us. My motivation is tenfold. I want to go as far as I can in football for the sake of my brother, who has not had the opportunity to do so himself. I represent my family when I am out on the field. I give everything, and never short change anyone.”
When asked where his calm and reserved nature comes from, Mangala implies that his brother’s accident has imbued him with a certain fatalism.
“I was the beneficiary of a good education… The ordeal of my brother has made me mature as a person. Your life can change dramatically overnight… I am on an upward spiral but everything could be turned on its head, for instance, by a serious injury”.
Mangala’s touching words on his brother will elicit great sympathy from football fans. It is easy to forget that despite the image of footballers as overpaid, awful human beings, plenty of them come from very difficult backgrounds or have personal tragedies that we may never find out about. Mangala’s has come to light because of his prominence, but plenty of footballers will go their careers without anyone knowing.
With his brother providing powerful inspiration, there is no sign of Mangala’s upward spiral coming to an end.