As a 19-year-old, I moved to Madrid all by myself.
Although it was hard at first, I quickly fell in love with this city. Now, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else: Madrid is my home. With the El Derbi coming up, it’s extra special to play for Real and live in Madrid.
After moving to Madrid to play for Atlético, I felt quite homesick. Nobody spoke English, so I had to learn Spanish. My fellow teammates helped me a lot. They made me feel at home and took me with them on every occasion, even though I couldn’t say a word. By listening to a language, you start to understand it. Within six weeks, I gave my first press conference in Spanish. Now, I speak more Spanish than Dutch.
I’m grateful I was able to sign with Real Madrid and watch my children grow up. There were times when I lived in London by myself and didn’t have that opportunity. Every time I had a day off, I’d travel to see them, even for just a few hours. Now, I am at their side during all the important moments in their lives.
After six years, Madrid is my home. The people, their hospitality, the food, the weather, the country: they all convinced me that Madrid is where I want to spend my life after my career.
See you soon,