He played alongside Casillas and Xavi, but instead of turning pro at Real Madrid, David Rodríguez-Fraile became a successful businessman.
“When I had to stop, the internet was only just beginning to spread,” recalls David Rodríguez-Fraile. “If all this had happened five or six years later, the whole world would probably have known about it, it would have definitely ended up on the internet forever.”
What is the Spaniard talking about? The failure of a potential world career as one of his native country’s brightest talents, having received the best possible education at Real Madrid and playing alongside the likes of Iker Casillas and Xavi.
Rodríguez-Fraile really took center stage at the U17 World Cup in Egypt 1997 when he scored an impressive seven goals to become top scorer. By the way, a certain Ronaldinho also took part in this tournament. But shortly after Rodríguez-Fraile was on everyone’s lips, bad luck with injuries set in.
“After the World Cup, I had a series of bad injuries,” he said Planet football the 42-year-old today. First a ligament injury in his knee put him out of action for six months, after a quite successful comeback his back caused immense problems. “I had an operation, but it didn’t really get any better.”
Rodríguez-Fraile: “I was in constant pain”
Rodríguez-Fraile joined Real at the age of 14 and in the following years gained a reputation as one of the greatest talents in Los Blancos – but at the age of 21 he had to give up his dream of a world career. “I had to accept that my body no longer allows me to play professional football, I was in constant pain.”
He was then to make a decision that he still says made him “happier than I could ever have been in football”. Rodríguez-Fraile left Spain behind and made a fresh start in the USA.
“I’ve always been interested in economic markets, so I went in that direction. A year after I retired, I started studying at Harvard Business School, graduated from there in 2004 and have been an investor ever since. I worked for Goldman Sachs, later started I have my own hedge fund,” said Rodríguez-Fraile.
The chronic back pain still bothers him today, but otherwise the successful businessman is more than happy with his life. “Could I have played through the pain and kicked at a lower level? Absolutely! But everything happens for a reason. If I hadn’t chosen this path, I would never have met my beautiful wife and would not have had the wonderful life with our children. as we currently have it.”
Of course he misses football itself, “the competition, the smell of the pitch and the atmosphere in the stadium”, but he doesn’t see much to regret. “I wouldn’t trade my current life for anything.” After all, he did make a career – and when you enter his name in the search engine, you can find very little about his life as a former super talent from Real.