Manchester United’s latest recruit Henrikh Mkhitaryan says the memory of his father keeps fuelling his desire to succeed.
The Armenian completed his move to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund earlier this month in a transfer thought to be worth around £26million.
He has been tipped to shine in his maiden season in the Premier League by former Dortmund team-mate Ilkay Gundogan, with the now Manchester City midfielder saying: “(Mkhitaryan) will have a big, big impact for Manchester United.”
Spurring him on is the premature death of his father Hamlet – a former footballer who earned two caps for Armenia – due to a brain tumour aged just 33.
“He was my drive, so he was my motivation because when I was young he was playing football professionally and I was always dreaming to go with him to the training ground,” Mkhitaryan told several national newspapers.
“It was my dream to continue his work and to also be a football player. It [his death] was a pity but that is life and life continues.
“I just hope he is proud looking down at me from the sky because I try to do everything to make him proud.”
He added of his father’s death: “On one side, yes it made me grow up quicker. And on one side no because it is very difficult when you grow up without a father because in the family you don’t have a real man who can give you direction, discipline.
“In one case my mother was my mother and father, so I am thankful to her and I am thankful to all the people who were next to me at the time in a hard moment so the life continues.”