‘These things scar you’: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg opens up about how he was forced to care for his dying father – who was diagnosed with cancer when the Spurs star was a teenager at Bayern Munich
- Spurs star Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was a carer for his dying father at the age of 17
- He joined Bayern Munich in 2012 and cared for his father until his death in 2014
- He opened up about his experience of caring and his relationship with his father
- The Tottenham midfielder insisted: ‘My father is with me a lot – in everything I do’
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has opened up about his experience of caring for his late father, who passed away from cancer in 2014.
Spotted young by Bayern Munich, the Danish star moved away from home to Germany in 2012 in pursuit of fruitful career in football, but his life changed dramatically once his father Christian was diagnosed with cancer.
After Christian moved to Germany to be with his son and undergo chemotherapy, Hojbjerg became a carer aged just 17 and was forced to juggle it with his budding youth career.
Aged 17, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was a carer for his dying father, who was diagnosed with cancer
‘My father would always take care of me, then suddenly I had to take care of him,’ he told BBC Football Focus.
‘I was cooking for him, I was putting him in bed, making sure that he got his medication and all of these things. These things scar you a bit.
‘It didn’t go as we hoped, he passed away in April . I finished the season, I played the cup final, I got my national team debut.
‘From a sports perspective the season really finished on a high, but from a life perspective it really finished on a low.
The Dane – pictured here alongside former boss Pep Guardiola – joined Bayern Munich in 2012
‘I had difficulty to motivate myself. It’s the first time actually that I have spoken about it like this.’
At the time, Hojbjerg became Bayern Munich’s youngest ever debutant in April 2013 aged 17 and 251 days.
He has since gone on to carve out prosperous spells at Schalke, Southampton and Spurs, as well as becoming an integral part of Denmark’s national team.
Although the grief of his father’s passing still pains him, Hojbjerg admitted the relationship he had with his father grew stronger during his time as a carer.
‘What makes me sleep better at night is that the best time I actually had with my father was that time,’ he added.
The midfielder left the Bundesliga for Southampton in 2016 before joining Tottenham in 2020
‘When he came, I could really show him that I knew how to take care of myself and I could take care of him and I could show him that I am actually becoming a man.
‘We had some great talks, we had some difficult talks, some that will stay with me forever, also some that hurt me a bit because I would love for him to be here today.
‘The only thing that was hard for me was that I always tried to be strong, I never had a sad face in front of him and I paid for that later on in my life because I held so much back.
‘My father is with me a lot – in everything I do – and he gives me inspiration like my family do, like my kids do, so they are with me.
‘I truly believe that a lot – not just in football, but in life – of what you are giving to the people around you, the sacrifices you make, you will get it back.’