Virginia Torrecilla: “I would suffer from cancer 20 times longer if my mother could walk again”


After playing in the 2019 World Cup with Spain, a tumor was detected in 2020 and a year later he suffered an accident that left his mother in a wheelchair. “I didn’t want to continue living,” he remembers in EL MUNDO from Villarreal, where he regains his smile. He has just published ‘No One Regrets Being Brave’.

Virginia Torrecilla.
Virginia Torrecilla.Inma FloresEditions B

The life of Virginia Torrecilla (Cala Millor, Mallorca, 1994) changed forever twice: in May 2020 and in June 2021. First they detected a brain tumor and then he suffered a car accident after which his mother was left in a wheelchair. “What about my mother hurts more“he admits in a candid chat with THE WORLD. The one who was the best soccer player in Spain in the 2019 World Cup She was forced to move away from the grass and closer to the hospitals, putting her body and mind to the limit. Now, she is slowly recovering normality and feeling like a soccer player again. Villarreal After leaving Atlético, tears fall when he remembers what he experienced. Everything is told in the pages of the book.Nobody regrets being brave‘.

How did the idea of ​​writing arise?
I have always really liked writing, although I am a person who does not open much with people about their feelings. Since my cancer was detected and I went to Pamplona, ​​I began to write for myself, so that tomorrow I could remember everything that had happened and the feelings I had had. Then the publisher wrote to me and told me that they wanted to make a book telling my story. And I didn’t hesitate.
How do you handle talking about what happened to you?
There are times when I feel sorry, when I cry, and other times when I laugh after seeing everything I have experienced and what I have assumed as a person. I have not been able to read the book. I am very sorry. I remembered my grandmother, what I have suffered, my mother’s accident… Things that I had forgotten and that when I go back hurt because I have not really been aware of everything I have experienced despite having suffered a lot. But when you go back and see the capacity your head has to forget… Going back is very hard.
What things had you forgotten?
Many. It’s crazy. But there are memories that talking with people… Like when what happened with my mother. I had forgotten the moment when I get up in the car after the accident and my mother tells me: ‘Virginia, I can’t feel my legs.’ My mind erased that completely. She remembered that I had gotten up, but my head had erased that. Also tell my partner: “But I have overcome cancer?” The head has an incredible ability to erase things that have hurt a lot. I also didn’t remember how my mother had gotten to the hospital in Toledo, I don’t know what I talked to my father after that moment… I only remembered being in the hospital. That is what has shocked me the most when writing.
What has been the hardest?
My mother’s accident, without a doubt. (…) And I get excited because when you go through it yourself, well, you go through it, you know how you feel, what you can do and what you can’t, but when it happens to the person next to you, who is the who came to take care of me during my illness and unfortunately this happens to him… You have a feeling of guilt. It is true that I was not to blame for the accident because we were hit from behind, but I was the one driving. It was very difficult for me to assume everything I had to assume as a person. My life changed when I was 25 years old and I thought: “How can it be that life is hitting me so hard?” And without a doubt, and I have always said it, I have gone through cancer and I would go through it 10, 15 and 20 more times if my mother could walk again. I don’t doubt it and I say it from the heart.
What was your reaction to the world, destiny or whatever you want to call it? Is there a moment when you say “that’s it, I can’t take it anymore”?
S. There have been moments… (…). At the end of the chemo everything was being very hard, I had lost many kilos, I was no longer eating and I honestly don’t know how I lived, and I said “I don’t want more chemo.” It’s just that if I die I don’t care. I couldn’t take it anymore, I didn’t have the strength. They are words that you say because you are weak but the thing is that when what happened to my mother happens to me, when I see that it didn’t work out in football either, psychologically I fall into a very deep depression, a depression to which I can’t find an end, well of course I thought about it. , who no longer wanted to live. He told me: “Why do I want more suffering in my life?” Even today when something goes wrong I think about it, I don’t want to be suffering in life. But then I think about it and after everything we have experienced, my parents are still alive, my brothers are fine… There are weak moments, but what can I say, I always try to move forward.
How are you now?
Well, every day gets better. I’m fine emotionally and what affects me the most is football. I always demand a lot from myself and sometimes I don’t enjoy everything I should enjoy, I put a lot of stress on myself. I want more as a footballer and that makes me suffer. How can it be that after all I get like this about football? Well yes.
Are you more demanding of yourself now than before?
Much more. I want to find the best version of myself and it’s like… “Fuck, Vir, you have to give more.” And it is true that I have had an incredible journey all these months, I have very good things that I did not have before and I am happy, but I always want more and that makes me feel less good than I should.
How has your body changed and how have you been assimilating those changes?
Imagine… In two years I haven’t had time to be the Virginia I have always been. She came to training with 47 kilos when before she weighed 73. It has been a very slow and very hard process because I have suffered a lot, not only on a mental level. On a physical level, it has taken me a lot to get back to 70 kilos, until almost two months ago. With a lot of effort for months and months, mornings, afternoons, drinking smoothies, eating twice as much… I have never felt so sore when I got out of bed.
What has been the worst moment?
I have it clear. There have been many, because I had a radio and chemo process that lasted almost a year and before that I had the operation, the post-operation… It has been a very hard process and not only for me, but also for my family. I remember my mother when I had surgery, I was going to sleep and I suffered because she heard my mother cry. There have been many hard moments, but the worst have been the last two months of chemo. Horrible. I didn’t eat anymore, I couldn’t get out of bed, the chemo was very damaging to me, psychologically seeing myself in the hospital for so many days, feeling ugly, with a dry and pasty mouth that tasted like iron… They were the worst months of my life. . From crying so much, so much, that my mother didn’t even leave the room because she saw that I was very bad.
What has it been like for your family?
Very complicated. Our lives have changed, not only because of my illness, but also because of having my mother in a wheelchair. My father went to live in Toledo for 7 months because my mother was in the hospital for paraplegics there, my sister was left alone with a newborn child, my brother was left alone at home working… It has been difficult for them to live it all from abroad, from Mallorca, they went when they had a free day. Today we are much better. We lived in a country house with stairs, we didn’t have an elevator, we also had to change the shower, the doors… My mother has also suffered a lot, but we have overcome it as a family and here I highlight my father. He is the one who pulls with everything, I am sure that he is the one who has suffered the most and now he pulls on my mother. He has a lot of merit at 70 years old.
Has all this changed your relationship with your mother?
I think we have always had family love, but as a result of what we have experienced we have become much closer. We have opened up about things we had never talked about… And I tease my mother a lot even though she is in a wheelchair. She has taught us to suffer but also to value what we have.
At what point does football reappear after the illness?
When I got sick, football took a backseat, logically, but as I recovered, and my family was already in a stable place, my dream was to play again. For my parents. I know they want to see me enjoy. I lost all hope after leaving Atlético de Madrid, after not playing, after seeing that I didn’t matter as a player, and that’s why I came to Villarreal.
Did you miss any more opportunities at Atlético?
I think they behaved very well with me and I will always have them with me, but I know that it is true that I believe, although I understand it, that I deserved more minutes to not see myself like that, with my head down and without feeling a part of many things.
What was the first day like when you started playing again?
It was incredible. She was skinny, with shaved hair… she didn’t know how to coordinate or hit the ball. How could it be! It was nice to see how she was improving. Then I made my debut in the Super Cup and I will never forget it when the Barcelona players supported me after the final.
At what moment do you feel like a person and a footballer again?
If I’m honest, I think this summer. I left Atlético hurt by many things and felt like it wasn’t me. I suffered a lot, I had no enthusiasm for anything, I wanted to leave football… Now I am better for coming to a new club and being part of something. Look, in the summer, when I hadn’t trained for a week, I went to the gym and ran into a man. He saw me training and told me “you train well, but you walk around with your head down because you don’t believe you are the person you are.” And I realized that it was true, that I didn’t want them to look at me, I didn’t feel safe, I didn’t feel like a person or an athlete. And then when I signed for Villarreal I started to feel better, good and loved again.
Speaking of football, world champions.
Who was going to tell us!
Do you have a little more football rage there?
No, no… Not really. I am very happy for the selection. The only thing that bothered me was the people who in the end couldn’t go to the tournament, who stood up and said “no” after everything they had experienced. And the World Cup is also their merit even if they have not played in it. I have a grudge about that. I am happy that women’s football continues. Very proud.
How have you experienced the demands of the last few months?
I’ve been out of everything, but I’ve always been with them. I am aware of many things because we have lived through very critical moments. For me, Jorge (Vilda) was always very good to me, when he got sick he was one of the first to come to see me and he behaved very well. Obviously I wasn’t in the Euro Cup and I’m not aware of what happened, but last year I’m on top of my teammates. Unfortunately all of this had to happen for us to realize what we asked for. They have opened doors for those who come from behind so that they know that they do not have to go through what we have gone through.
What atmosphere did you notice in the Federation?
I think what they have asked for are changes in the Federation with respect to who was there before. Everything that has to do with the person who was there before, we don’t want. It is something fundamental for women’s football. And I think they have said it: “We want to dedicate ourselves only to football.”
Did the kiss surprise you?
Yes I was surprised. It doesn’t have to happen in any way, much less live. I was very disappointed with women who did not defend Jenni with images. It seems absurd to me. What if it happened to your daughter? And for the men who have defended him: What if it happened to your partner?
If there had been no kiss, would nothing have changed?
Of course. Unfortunately. But thanks to that people have realized that things were not going well.

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