LaLiga Spoke to Radio MARCA about his career
Junior Firpo has admitted that he considered hanging up his boots before his career even got started, prior to Real Betis signing him.
The current Under-21 European champion was playing in the lower leagues of Spanish football before Betis came in for him.
“I always had it clear in my mind that I wanted to be a footballer,” Junior told Radio MARCA.
“It’s taken a lot [of time and effort] and now it’s all happening so quickly.
“If you told me two years ago that I’d be playing in [LaLiga Santander] and in the [Spanish Under-21] national team, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Junior was born in the Dominican Republic but moved to Malaga at the age of six, which was where his football career began.
“When I was nine, Malaga called me but by father thought I was too young,” he said.
“I kept that desire of becoming a professional, but when I was 18 and watching young lads making their debuts on TV, I lost [enthusiasm] a bit.
“I even told my girlfriend that if no academy signed me that year, I’d quit. I’d decided [to quit], but in the last league game in the youth team, we played against Betis and they signed me.”
Now, after impressing in his first full season with Betis in LaLiga Santander, Junior is a European champion after winning the European Under-21 Championship with Spain last month.
“It’s all going so quickly, I try not to think that I was playing on dirt pitches not long ago, I only focus on playing,” he noted.
“Now I’m at Betis, the club of my heart, and I hope to be here for many more years. Interest from other clubs is something you have to live with.
“But I’m happy here, we’re quite close to Malaga; now I just want to enjoy the last few days of my holiday and we’ll see.”
Having spent most of his life in Malaga, Junior has admitted that he wants to play for the city’s football club one day.
“It would be nice to end my career at Malaga,” he said.
“Everyone would rather stay at home than move away. But in the future, I want to live on my own patch… although my girlfriend prefers Seville.”