‘These things scar you’: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg tells 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 cared for his dying father at age 17
He joined Bayern Munich in 2012 and cared for his father until his death in 2014
He talked about his experience with care and his relationship with his father
Tottenham midfielder insisted: ‘My father is with me a lot – in everything I do’
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is candid about his experience caring for his late father, who died of cancer in 2014.
Spotted young by Bayern Munich, the Danish star moved from home to Germany in 2012 to pursue a fruitful career in football, but his life changed dramatically when his father Christian was diagnosed with cancer.
After Christian moved to Germany to be with his son and undergo chemotherapy, Hojbjerg only became a caregiver for 17 years and had to juggle it with his burgeoning childhood career.
At the age of 17, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg cared for his dying father, who was diagnosed with cancer
His father died in 2014 after moving to Germany to undergo chemotherapy and be with him
“My father would always take care of me, then suddenly I had to take care of him,” he said BBC Football Focus.
“I cooked for him, I put him to bed and made sure he got his meds and all these things. These things scare you a little.
“It didn’t go as we hoped, he passed away in April . I finished the season, I played the cup final, I made my debut for the national team.
“Sportingly, the season has really ended at a peak, but from a life perspective it has really ended at a low point.
The Dane – pictured here alongside former boss Pep Guardiola – joined Bayern Munich in 2012
“I struggled to motivate myself. It’s actually the first time I’m talking about it like that.’
At the time, Hojbjerg became Bayern Munich’s youngest ever debutant in April 2013 at the age of 17 and 251 days.
Since then, he has enjoyed prosperous spells at Schalke, Southampton and Spurs, becoming an integral part of the Danish national team.
Although the grief of his father’s passing still hurts him, Hojbjerg admitted that the relationship he had with his father grew stronger during his time as a caregiver.
“What makes me sleep better at night is that the best time I had with my dad was that time,” he added.
The midfielder left the Bundesliga in 2016 for Southampton before joining Tottenham in 2020
“When he came, I was able to really show him that I knew how to take care of myself and that I could take care of him and I could show him that I’m really becoming a man.
“We had some great conversations, we had some tough conversations, some that will stay with me forever, also some that hurt me a little because I would love it if he was here today.
“The only thing that was hard for me was that I always tried to be strong, I never had a sad face for him and I paid for that later in life because I was holding back so much.
“My father is with me a lot – in everything I do – and he gives me inspiration like my family, my children, so they are with me.
“I do believe that a lot – not just in football, but in life – of what you give to the people around you, the sacrifices you make, you will get it back.”