Denmark’s Hojbjerg talks grief, growth and glory

2022/5/22

Trang chủ Tin tức Denmark’s Hojbjerg talks grief, growth and glory
  • Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is a key player for Denmark and Tottenham Hotspur

  • The midfielder has come through significant personal and professional challenges

  • He speaks to FIFA about the emotions that drive him and his hopes for Qatar 2022

Hojbjerg

 

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Rigshospitalet is the biggest hospital in Denmark and routinely finds itself ranked as one of the best in the world. It also happens to offer an outlook – across trees and football pitches – on the country’s national stadium, Parken.

Together, these venues exert an enduring, emotional influence on the life and career of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was born in Rigshospitalet, grew up in its Osterbro district and, as he did so, running out at Parken became – and remained – an obsession.

Even after realising that dream many times over, and despite moving abroad when he was just 17, that Copenhagen arena – and its nearby hospital – continued to loom large in his story. Both of his children were born in Rigshospitalet, and it was there that a short, frantic journey from Parken was made following his friend Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest at UEFA EURO 2020.

But long before it hit the headlines for its role in the saving of Eriksen’s life, Hojbjerg had sat in that same hospital spending time with – then saying goodbye to – his beloved father. This was when he was still 18, less than a year after his dream move to Bayern Munich but, crucially, just weeks before he broke into Denmark’s senior side.

As he told FIFA: “I’ve always had a strong emotional connection with the national team. It was a big dream of my father, and for me too, that I would play for the team one day.

“As my father was getting more and more ill, I was getting closer and closer to doing that. I actually remember there was a national team game in March of that year, and I was called up with the U-21s. I’d really hoped to be with the first team and, looking back now, I can see that I was angry.”

The call he craved arrived just over two months later. Cruelly, it came just too late for this shared dream to be realised by both father and son.

“He passed away a month before my debut,” Hojbjerg explained. “The last time I saw him, I’d become a German champion for the second time under Pep Guardiola. We watched the [title-clinching] game on German TV because I’d asked for time off to be with my father as he was really struggling by then.