Darboe: ‘I thank God and Italy’

by | May 6, 2021 22:31

Ebrima Darboe thanked ‘God and Italy’ for his journey from Gambian refugee to playing for Roma in a Europa League semi-final in just five years. ‘I had this dream.’

The teenager came off the bench 30 minutes into this evening’s 3-2 win over Manchester United, replacing injured Chris Smalling.

Ebrima Darboe thanked ‘God and Italy’ for his journey from Gambian refugee to playing for Roma in a Europa League semi-final in just five years. ‘I had this dream.’

The teenager came off the bench 30 minutes into this evening’s 3-2 win over Manchester United, replacing injured Chris Smalling.

“It’s indescribable, I don’t even know how I could explain what I’m feeling,” the 19-year-old said in his first live interview with Sky Sport Italia.

“We always try to train to the max when we’re working with the first team. The coach told me I am good, so just to play it simple and think as if I’m in a training session. I tried to do that and help the team.”

Darboe’s story is remarkable, as he arrived in Italy aged 14 on a refugee boat from Libya just five years ago, was placed with a host family near Rome and is now playing a Europa League semi-final.

“I had this dream since I was a kid, but Africa is a difficult place to play football at the top level. I had a friend, who was like a brother, and he told me I was too good, I should speak to my parents and get to Europe, as then I’d play for the professionals.

“It wasn’t easy with documents to get a visa, my parents tried, but I had no other choice, I ran away with two friends. It was tough, but thank God and thanks to Italy, I was placed with a host family and I am so grateful.

“After a year, I met a scout called Miriam Petruzzi and she changed my life. I basically became part of her family and I want to thank them so much. I know they are all watching me.”

Does Darboe have advice for any other young players out there?

“Always try to give your best, to believe in your dreams, never give up and have lots of patience.”

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