The £68m defender was raised by single mum Py Laurence after his dad, former footballer Jean-Francois Hernandez, left his mother for a Spanish TV star when he was 5
- 2 Apr 2019, 7:00
- Updated: 2 Apr 2019, 9:33
HE’S most certainly his mother’s son, despite his father’s footballing pedigree.
Last week, Lucas Hernandez, 23, continued his rapid rise in the game – signing for Bayern Munich for a club record fee of £68m.
It’s capped a wonderful eight months for the defender, who lifted the World Cup last summer with France.
But behind his success lies a tragic story, fraught with a determination to be the best.
When Lucas was just five years old, dad Jean-Francois Hernandez left him, his mum Py Laurence and younger brother Theo for Spanish TV star Sonia Moldes.
Both Jean-Francois’s sons would go on to play professionally, Theo is currently starring at Real Sociedad, on loan from Real Madrid.
However, their achievements have absolutely nothing to do with him.
The life of dad, Jean-Francois Hernandez
The 6ft 3in defender’s career began at Toulouse, followed by a short spell at Sochaux, before signing for a disgraced Marseille side who were relegated to Ligue 2 after the 1993 bribery scandal that rocked French football.
Jean-Francois helped OM gain promotion in 1996, but in truth was a bit-part player, and mostly found himself playing fourth division football with the reserves.
In 1998, at the age of 30, he moved to Spain with Compostella for a new challenge.
They were relegated from La Liga in his first season, and he soon signed for Rayo Vallecano, another club who yo-yoed between the top league and the Segunda Division.
Then came a season at Atletico Madrid from 2000-01, who had been relegated and were looking for seasoned Segunda Division pro to aid their plight.
He shared a dressing room with a young Fernando Torres for a year, before he was shipped back to Rayo.
Jean-Francois retired in 2002 at the age of 33 after his priorities changed and he met another woman.
He dropped his family, left their home and shacked up with stunning actress Moldes soon after.
They got married months later, enjoying a romantic honeymoon in Thailand and he was never to be seen again.
Mum Py Laurence took on the strain of raising two boys on her own
With the bread-winner of the family gone, Py was left on her own with Lucas and Theo.
Initially it pained her to see her two young boys kicking a football around, a reminder of the husband who had scorned her’s livelihood.
But she supported their talent, knowing full well they dreamed of playing professionally.
Lucas joined the youth set-up of CF Rayo Majadahonda, a local team 20 minutes west of Madrid, and Theo came onboard a year later.
Despite her financials straits, Py drove her sons to training EVERY single day.
Recognising the boys were unique, CF Rayo Majadahonda gave them both scholarships.
Through their teens, Lucas and Theo excelled – coaches told their mother that her boys could go far in football, because they had the skill and ability to reach the top.
Lucas moves to Atletico Madrid in 2007
When he was just 11, Lucas joined Atletico Madrid’s youth set-up.
He earned the nickname ‘Jefazo’ from his coaches and teammates, which translates to ‘Big Boss.’
Tall and strong in the tackle, his attributes stood out among the rest.
Young Lucas was also blessed with incredible anticipation, able to read the game well before the play was made.
His character – fierce, determined and a born winner made him stand out on the pitch furthermore.
In 2014, Diego Simeone included the then 17-year-old in his first team squad for a match against Villarreal.
A year later, Hernandez was promoted from the second string, where he established himself as a mainstay alongside the likes of seasoned campaigner Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez.
Now he’s a dad, Lucas understands the role mother Py played even more
Last year, Lucas became a father to a son called Martin.
In a heart-wrenching interview with La Parisien, he made it clear that he would not repeat the same mistake his father made and paid credit to his mum.
“I owe everything to her, she’s the one who brought us up, who took my brother and I to football, who worked I don’t know how many hours to feed us,” he said. “What I am is thanks to her.”
Lucas also confirmed that he and Theo haven’t spoken to their father for around 13 years.
“We’ve not heard from our father for 12 or 13 years, not even after winning the World Cup.
I owe everything to her, she’s the one who brought us up, who took my brother and I to football, who worked I don’t know how many hours to feed us.”Lucas Hernandez On Mum Py Laurence
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“Now that I’m a father, I’m even more aware of what he’s done, that he has failed in his father’s role.
“What I can’t imagine is giving up my son, I would never do it, and even if I have to sleep under a bridge for my son’s happiness, I will.”
It’s clear to see that Bayern are investing in a talent with the right morals.