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I cried every day for two weeks after joining West Ham

Filed: Monday, 9th October 2017
By: Staff Writer

Former Hammer Daniel 'Dani' Carvalho has revealed how he used to cry himself to sleep after being sent to London as a teenager.

The Portuguese forward spent one season on loan at West Ham in the mid 1990s as Harry Redknapp's 'Foreign Legion', as they were dubbed by the media at the time, rose to prominence.

But Dani, now 40, has revealed how he initially hated the capital - whilst admitting that he used to weep every night when speaking to his family. "For the first two or three weeks I cried every day," he said in a revealing interview with tribunaexpresso.pt.

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"I spent hours on the phone with my parents. I was 18, alone in London, living in a two-story apartment with no driving license. I felt isolated and missed the day-to-day stuff as I used to have dinner with my parents and my sister every day."

The then 18-year-old had been sent to England on loan an punishment for a string of high-profile incidents - often involving the opposite sex - that threatened to derail his career as a professional footballer.

But as he recalled, London was probably the worst possible place he could have ended up given his love of the high life - and it was a world he soon embraced, even if that was once again detrimental to his development.

"One of the newspapers wrote 'Lock up your daughters! Dani has arrived'! Then I was contacted by a modeling agency who built and strengthened my image as a 'handsome boy'.

"They started to take me to the film premieres and they introduced me to producers etc - and that's when I began to live London life in earnest.

"I was suddenly with Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis and Kate Moss by my side at movie premieres. The Twelve Monkeys was the first one I went to. Sometimes I couldn't believe what was happening! I thought it was a joke to be in those places so I tried to play and maintain that social life."

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However it soon turned sour for Dani, who played just nine times for the Hammers, after he fell out with then-manager Harry Redknapp. "West Ham had an option to buy me, but the price wasn't set," he explained. "When I arrived West Ham were were 16th in the table and after I got there we were soon up to 7th or 8th.

"A month or so before the end of the season we went to Spain for a week and they spent the day playing golf and drinking beer. The coach, Harry Redknapp, had the nerve to tell me, 'I'm going to pull you out of the team until the end of the season so your price will go down - then I'll buy you'.

"I asked him not to do this because I had the chance to go to Euro 96 [with Portugal] and if I did not play it would be difficult for that to happen. He said 'I don't care, I want you here next season so you won't play any more'.

And it was at that point that Dani decided to return to Portugal - albeit briefly. "I snapped and went home but my manager, Jose Veiga, and father convinced me to return," he continued.

"So I came back but I wouldn't even look at him, we had no relation at all. He began to say that I was a bad professional, said that I smoked and couldn't behave myself - all this despite the fact that I was hoping to play at the Euros at the age of 18.

"I attended training because I had to go, but if he talked to me and asked to do something I wouldn't do it. I'd totally lost respect for him. Redknapp didn't do well with me, [Paulo] Futre, [Hugo] Porfirio, or half the players I trained with."

Dani eventually ended up in the Eredivisie with Ajax, where he was to spend the next four years of his career before moving to Atletico Madrid in 2000. However less than four years later, and having represented his country nine times, he retired from the game at the age of only 27, to take up a career in TV.

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