History repeats itself over and over again: young women who leave their studies, jobs and personal endeavors to accompany their footballer husbands when they decide to pursue their careers abroad. There are few times that the process is reversed. However, there are exceptions, such as Esteban Ruiz Diazwho is 26 years old and is a professional player or was at least until a few days ago.
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Last week, Esteban left the club Alvarado from Mar del Plata, a team that plays in the First National, and retired from soccer. The reason? He will move to Spain since his wife had an unbeatable opportunity to continue developing her professional career in that country.
“Everyone finds it strange, but they are decisions that one makes,” Esteban told TN on the other side of the phone in one of the gaps he had between all the paperwork he has to do in order to leave the country and arrive in Europe with his papers in order.
Paula, Esteban’s wife, is Bachelor of International Trade and currently works for a company in the United States. Some time ago she was presented with the opportunity to do a Master’s degree in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. In the time that this professional improvement lasts, she will receive an economic scholarship and, when it ends, she will have a job opportunity.
The chance presented to his wife was too tempting and, at the same time, Esteban no longer felt so comfortable with his professional path. “I was a little tired of not being given certain personal goals that I had in football,” he admitted.
Esteban and Paula are from La Matanza. They met at school when they were both teenagers. There was born a love that transcended the years, the moves for football and, of course, individual professional decisions.
“In these last two years I bet on playing, on continuing to grow and it didn’t happen. I’m already a certain age and I feel like I have to think a little further,” said the former goalkeeper.
Goodbye to football at the age of 26
Esteban made inferiors in San Lorenzo. He spent 12 years in the Cyclone, but there he could not debut in first. His first professional contract was signed at Colegiales and then he went to JJ Urquiza. In the midst of the pandemic, he was transferred to Alvarado de Mar del Plata, a club where he was until last week.
The position of goalkeeper is very particular and technical maturity often reaches even close to 30 years. Esteban is only 26, but he has already made the decision to retire from football. Although some are still trying to convince him to find a club in Spain, he doesn’t want to wait any longer. He wants to move on to a new stage in his life.
“I will find the course and see what I do. I would like to study physical education teacher training. I really like sports, so I’m going to go that way,” he said.
Paula and Esteban are married. She has Spanish citizenship, but he does not. In fact, she does not know Europe, so this adventure that she will undertake next July 31 will be full of novelties in every possible way.
A very unusual decision
When Esteban began to entertain this idea of leaving everything behind to accompany his wife, the first person who found out in Alvarado was the archer Peter Fernandezhis concentration partner.
“I was commenting to him and he told me that they are personal decisions and that he was fine, that if he felt that it was the best for both of them, that he should go aheadthat something good was going to come, ”said the former goalkeeper.
His partner’s was not the only positive comment he received, other people also sent him their good wishes when his story came out in the media.
“Many people spoke to me privately to give me their support. From there in Spain they told me not to stop playing, that I was going to have opportunities”, she highlighted.
But social networks can also be very cruel spaces. Some comments called him “pollerudo” or they called him “Trezeguet died”, alluding to the decision that the Franco-Argentine striker took at the time to get away from who was his wife at the time to leave Europe and come to play for River in Argentina.
“Everyone can say what they want, the one who makes the decisions is the one who lives from day to day and does so for a reason. These are things that have to be respected, “said Esteban, who chose to just laugh at those misplaced comments.
Just days after starting a new life with Paula in Europe, the former player looks back and values the lessons that sport left him, but understands that a stage is coming that can be overcome: “I don’t blame myself for anything, I feel like I gave it my all. I have good memories and many values that football teaches you. I am happy and calm with the decision I made.”