13 fun facts about Memphis Depay

Comments (0)
Did You Know_Memphis
Everything you need to know about the Dutch superstar!

Memphis Depay is a Dutch professional footballer who is a forward for La Liga club Atletico Madrid and the Netherlands national team. He was born in Moordrecht, Netherlands, on February 13, 1994.

Memphis began his football journey at a young age, joining the youth academy of his local club, VV Moordrecht. His talent quickly caught the attention of scouts, leading to his move to the esteemed youth academy of PSV Eindhoven in 2006. He rose through the ranks, impressing with his performances and eventually making his senior debut for PSV in 2011 at 17.

During his time at PSV, Memphis showcased his immense potential, playing a pivotal role in PSV's Eredivisie title triumph, scoring 22 goals in 30 league appearances and earning the top scorer award. His impressive performances also attracted the attention of top European clubs.

In 2015, the then-teenager secured a move to Manchester United in the Premier League. However, his time at the club did not go as smoothly as expected. He struggled to adapt to the demanding nature of English football and faced inconsistent form. After two seasons with limited playing time, he joined Olympique Lyonnais in France in January 2017.

Memphis' move to Lyon revitalised his career. He flourished in Ligue 1, becoming the focal point of the French outfit's attack. Known for his dribbling skills, pace, and powerful shooting, he consistently delivered impressive performances, contributing with goals, and assists. Depay's time at Lyon also saw him develop as a leader, serving as the team's captain and guiding them to multiple top-four finishes in the league.

In 2021, the 29-year-old joined FC Barcelona on a free transfer. It began well for him as a regular joining forces with his former national team coach Ronald Koeman - scoring 12 league goals in his first season - but he became a bit-part player under new boss Xavi Hernandez, who preferred other attackers.

He then joined Barca's La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid for a nominal €4m fee in search of regular playing time in January 2023. However, he has endured an injury-plagued second half of the season.

Memphis has represented the Netherlands national team since 2013 on the international stage. He first burst onto the scene at the 2014 World Cup, and has been a regular fixture in the senior squad ever since, leading their attack in major tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup (2022) and the UEFA European Championship (2020).

But what are the 13 things you absolutely need to know about the Dutch attacker?

  1. Tough upbringing led to him selling drugs

    The Dutch star has had a difficult journey to the top. He did not have a carefree childhood there at his hometown, Moordrecht. His Ghanaian father, Dennis, left the family when Memphis was three years old. His mother, Cora Schensema, remarried in 2002 to a neighbour. But things didn't go well either: when his stepfather won the lottery, he too disappeared. His mother spent several months in a mental health centre and Depay lived with his maternal grandparents.

    There he forged his personality during an unconventional and challenging childhood. Being a withdrawn and untrusting child, he had constant fights with his all too many stepbrothers, which did not help him to open up to others.

    He ended up being involved in drugs and hanging out with criminals for a short time, but his football talent came to his rescue once more. When he turned 15, Memphis decided to quit school and concentrate on his career as a footballer.

  2. Could've signed for Liverpool

    A young Memphis was attracting widespread attention, following a campaign that saw him score 28 goals and set up another eight in 40 games for PSV Eindhoven in 2014/15, when the Reds emerged as leading candidates ahead of Manchester United and PSG.

    Memphis was all set to join Liverpool from PSV in 2015 for a fee of €30m, and then Reds boss Brendan Rodgers praised him as a very talented player, confirming that Liverpool need a goal threat for the following season. But a confusing approach saw the deal fall through, as the club decided to focus on Christian Benteke instead.

  3. Why Memphis doesn’t want to be called by his surname?
    Getty Images

    Why Memphis doesn’t want to be called by his surname?

    So far, you might've noticed one thing in particular while reading this fun facts piece, we've not referred to Memphis by his legal surname Depay. No, that's not a mistake or an accident. That's because the forward has already made it clear that he does not want to be referred to by that name due to his family history.

    Footballers carry stories of perseverance and grit. Dutch forward Memphis is one of them, as he has a big reason not to use his surname on the back of his jersey or even his Twitter profile (@Memphis).

    Speaking to the BBC following his decision to drop his surname in 2012, he said of his Ghanaian father, who abandoned him: “I will never forgive him.

    “Do not call me Depay, call me Memphis. No, I don’t want to explain exactly what happened at home because I don’t want to make people feel ashamed. And that’s how it will remain because I’ve already moved on.”

    Virgil van Dijk's story is quite similar – Depay's national teammate refused to wear jerseys with his last name since his father was not around for many years and never really contributed to the centre-back's career success.

  4. CR7 is his idol

    CR7 is his idol

    Cristiano Ronaldo has inspired some of world football's biggest stars over the years, and Memphis is certainly one of them.

    Some in his home country even labelled a young Memphis "The Dutch Ronaldo" thanks to his scoring ability, stature and confidence. After signing for Manchester United in May 2015, Memphis revealed Ronaldo was indeed his footballing inspiration.

    He told BBC Sport: “It’s an honour to have a name like that but you have to be real and I am down to earth,”

    “He is my idol and a big, big player – maybe the biggest in the world. I watched him a lot. I look at his free-kicks and how he moves.”

  5. Fashionista

    Memphis has also shown an interest in the world of fashion. He has stated that he likes style and feels good being involved in the industry, as he has his own clothing line, BADTTW clothing label.

    Famous brand Puma recently collaborated with Memphis' label for a first collection, which infuses Memphis’ style into PUMA’s iconic T7-inspired t-shirts, jackets, and track pants. No doubt that he is aware of his amazing fashion sense, and how best to make a brand out of it by leveraging his mass social media following.

  6. Rap God 🌀🌪️
    Getty Images

    Rap God 🌀🌪️

    A host of big-name stars have stepped into the recording boot to try their hand at rapping, but juggling a footballing career and a music career isn’t easy, as fellow rappers Erling Haaland and Oleksandr Zinchenko have found it the hard way, and had to stick with their day jobs.

    However, Memphis' rapping is actually pretty lit. He has produced quite a few ‘bangers’ in the recording studio as well! He loves music and has released several tracks, collaborating with professional Dutch music artists.

    He has showcased his rapping skills through music videos in recent years on his Youtube Channel, which has nearly 800,000 subscribers. The Dutch attacker even has his own profile on Spotify, but most of his songs haven't exactly turned out to be smash hits.

  7. Tattoo king 👑

    Tattoo king 👑

    Memphis' has almost fifty tattoos, including a colossal lion covering his back and wings on his chest. The former Lyon winger opened up his personal motivations behind three inks in particular - a small circle on his wrist, Christ the Redeemer on his ribs and a massive lion across his back.

    Explaining his tattoos in an interview with Unscriptd, Memphis said: "So, one of the tattoos I really like is the small circle: it’s for the small circle that I have, the small circle of friends - they are family for me. I’m not really moving with a lot of people. It’s for us, more a relation thing, a trust thing, and it’s a very nice symbol to say we have a small circle, and we keep it tight because these days it's very special."

    "I have one on my ribs: the Jesus of Rio. I got that one when I played in the World Cup and I scored my first goal. That switched a lot of things in my career so that’s one of my favourites.

    "The lion on my back represents me – I have the heart of a lion... I always had a feeling that I’ve been brought up in the jungle: I was always outside, I’ve been to rough areas and I’ve been through rough times. The lion is for me, 'the king of the jungle,' and I always stayed on my feet even though it was rough."

  8. Youngest Dutch goalscorer in World Cup history

    Youngest Dutch goalscorer in World Cup history

    Memphis represented the Netherlands at under-15 through to under-21 level before making his senior breakthrough. He won his first senior international cap in 2013 and rose to prominence primarily through his performances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where he made a stellar debut.

    The Netherlands were on the verge of drawing against Australia when Depay came on as a substitute and assisted Robin van Persie before scoring a goal, making him the national team’s youngest Dutchman to score at the World Cup at 20 years and four months.

  9. On track to become Netherlands all-time top-scorer

    On track to become Netherlands all-time top-scorer

    Despite a fast start at the 2014 World Cup, Memphis' international career stalled partly due to the Netherlands' inability to make it to the finals of the 2016 European Championships and the 2018 World Cup.

    Seeing his country struggling to make it through to the top, he took on the responsibility of becoming their most reliable striker, and his goals tally has picked up momentum since.

    The player now has 44 goals to his name, and is now only four goals away from becoming the national team’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing legends of Dutch football such as current-holder Vn Persie, Dennis Bergkamp, and Patrick Kluivert. A big feat!

    He played an instrumental role in the Netherlands' qualification for the 2020 Euros and the 2022 World Cup, scoring crucial goals and providing assists.

  10. His ex-girlfriend is relative to famous American comedian Steve Harvey

    Memphis' first girlfriend was Lori Harvey, the stepdaughter of famous American TV personality Steve Harvey. The couple began dating in 2015 and even got engaged in June 2017 after Memphis proposed.

    In fact, in 2017, Steve Harvey himself announced on Twitter that Memphis and his step-daughter had gotten engaged. He wrote: "Marjorie and I are proud to announce the engagement of our youngest daughter Lori to Memphis Depay, this young man is a good one! Congrats!"

    However, the couple is presumed to have split later that same year due to personal reasons, with Lori being spotted without her engagement ring in 2018. Since then, Memphis has been in a relationship with well-known American singer and songwriter Chloe Bailey, but in July 2021, it was rumoured that the two have separated.

  11. Memphis’ autobiography : ‘Heart of a Lion’ 🦁

    Memphis has accomplished a lot in his football career. But football is only one of his many talents. Memphis also aspires to be an artist, a fashion designer, an actor - as long as he can star in a film about his own life - and, above all, a rapper.

    This is not us saying random stuff, Memphis' has himself mentioned this in his book, Heart of a Lion. He has been sincere, laying bare his troubled childhood, his struggles with his estranged family and his career low points.

    It also introduces us to the best character in his career: his mental coach Joost, perhaps the most patient man ever, helping a tormented young Memphis channel his energy into football whilst warning him against spending all his money on flashy goods.

  12. The story behind Depay's iconic celebration?

    The story behind Depay's iconic celebration?

    Memphis celebrates most of his goals for club and country by sticking his fingers into his ears. In his interview with TV3, he was asked to explain the reason behind his iconic celebration, with many fans seemingly wondering about it as well.

    "My celebration? Blind and deaf to the world. It's basically focused tunnel vision. I don't feel anything, I don't see anything and I focus. I think in life sometimes it's important to have tunnel vision and be really focused so that you can give the best version of yourself without distractions," Memphis answered.

  13. Close to his Ghanaian roots
    Ghana FA.

    Close to his Ghanaian roots

    Although Ghana is the birthplace of the father he barely knows, Memphis has embraced his Ghanaian roots and wants to give something back to the people.

    He often visits the West African country during the off-season to improve his familiarity with his cultural roots and attires.

    He also takes time to visit his Memphis' foundation for several charity projects, which he’s currently sponsoring, such as refurbishing the schools for the deaf and blind in Cape Coast and donating sporting equipment such as footballs, jerseys, shin guards, football boots etc.

    During his time in Ghana back in January, the part-time music star even met with the first citizen of the country, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.