The then-18-year-old was playing for Tama Youth, a second-division Ghanaian side, when he was offered a trial by Atletico Madrid.
So to make sure nothing could jeopardise his dream move, he kept it secret from all of his friends and family, with the exception of his father.
“My dad knew about it but then I told him not to tell anyone,” Partey said. “There was a saying that when everybody knows about your move, they can disturb you. That’s mostly in Ghana because I was playing with my friends and you never know what someone is thinking, so we just had to keep it secret until everyone saw it.
“I wanted to play outside Ghana and I was focused on playing with the great people we saw on TV, because we used to watch La Liga, the Premier League, so many leagues. All my inspirations played in that league.
“Moving to Spain taught me a lot and I’ve learned a lot from it, how to take decisions on my own, how to be perfect, how to try to go through hell. But then you know that after the hell, you have important things ahead that you can enjoy.
“I’ll always take those challenges and I know that with all these challenges, you’ll be able to make it.”
Thomas Partey is eternally grateful for the special bond he shares with his father.
Our new midfielder grew up in Krobo Odumase, Ghana, with his seven siblings and spent most of his early childhood kicking a ball about together at his dad’s training ground.
“I remember playing with my father,” Partey said. “He was a footballer and he was playing a lot. He was the captain of his team and then he took us to his training ground, so we played there.
“When I got to 10 years old, I started playing in a club that he formed in the village. We had lots of great talents and for many years we played together, and then we moved to a different city where we were playing in a youth league among ourselves. Growing up was the best moment of my life.
“When I was young, my dad helped me a lot. He gave me so much advice because he used to play and he knew what I needed to be a professional. He talked to me a lot, how to be disciplined, how to respect my coaches and everyone around me.
“Then he told me to always be training and not going out all the time, that I have to rest a lot. It’s simple advice that will get you to the top.”
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