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Real Madrid's Nacho Fernandez feared diabetes would end football dreams

Nacho Fernandez came through the ranks at Real Madrid.

Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez has said he was told at the age of 12 that he would not be able to have a career in football because of his type one diabetes.

Nacho, 27, made his 100th senior appearance for the Liga leaders in Saturday's win at Osasuna.

But it once seemed his dream of playing professionally would never happen, he told UEFA in quotes reported by Madrid's official website.

"I had been playing for two years at Real Madrid and it was a tough time," he said. "I remember, when I went into the hospital, the doctor who saw me wasn't the one who should have seen me.

"That doctor told me that I couldn't continue playing football and it was a really bad weekend for me.

"But three days later I saw Dr Ramirez, someone I'm very fond of. He told me the opposite -- that I had not finished with football at all."

Asked whether being diabetic meant there were limits on what he could do, Nacho said: "I am lucky to play football, I like to play all kinds of sports, exactly because of that, because it is very important to do physical activity.

"I have no limitations. There are meals that I have to be a little more careful with but I eat everything and I am lucky to have it well controlled.

"It makes you be a more responsible person and take more care of yourself."

Nacho has spent his whole career at the Bernabeu after coming through the ranks and said that meant "you know that when you wear this shirt you have that responsibility."

"You are playing for the best team in the world and, from a young age, you are learning things that the club teaches you," he added.

"When you reach the first team, the dimensions are much greater and people look at you through a magnifying glass."

He praised coach Zinedine Zidane, saying he was doing "a very good job."

"I like him because he's a bit like me, a quiet person that does not get bothered when a problem comes along," he said. "Thanks to him we have achieved important things, and I hope it continues this way."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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