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The Strength of Saúl

As it turns out, Atlético Madrid midfielder Saúl Ñíguez is even tougher than we thought, as it surfaced today that Saúl has had trouble with his kidneys, and has had to play though enormous pain over the last two years. 

Club Atletico de Madrid v Leicester City - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: First Leg Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

In an interview with Spanish Television channel Mega, Saúl Ñíguez revealed that starting as early as the match away to Bayer Leverkusen in 2014/15, the midfielder has suffered from problems with his kidneys, and he had to be hospitalized following that match at the BayArena. Because of this, Saúl now has to wear an internal catheter to address the issues related to his kidney.

Despite the extreme discomfort Saúl must play through, he has developed into quite a good player, especially over the last two seasons. At the start of the year, there were questions about Saúl’s form, but since the New Year, Saúl has grown into his central midfield role alongside Gabi wonderfully, showing real development in both defensive and attacking areas of his game.

As an academy graduate, Saúl has fought his way into the first XI, and his commitment to Atlético is unquestionable. In the same interview, he expressed how much wearing the Atleti shirt meant to him, as well as the team’s goal to reach the Champions League summit. To play as hard as Saúl does, and then to have to deal with the painful health consequences after a match as well as training is extremely brave, especially for a young player.

Atleti never disclosed the extent of Saúl’s problem, but for his own privacy that is appropriate. It is unclear what issues Saúl’s kidney could cause him either short-term or long-term, though it seems as if all parties are closely watching the problem to make the best decision for Saúl’s health.