Atlético Madrid midfielder’s comeback from brain cancer and mother’s paralysis brought a new, better life
Carlos Alberto Torres had been living a life of luxury and plenty. At 33, after more than two decades of playing at a high level, he had a wife who he loved. He had two children and the world at his feet. His future was bright.
Five years ago, on April 13, 2010, he was admitted to hospital with leukemia.
“My dad was so happy when he said he was going to the hospital,” says son Juan Alberto Torres. “He was very proud that ‘Uncles’ is going through an operation.”
Carlos Alberto Torres had just celebrated his 40th birthday. On the day of his diagnosis, he was already playing football at the highest level. He had just won the Pichichi Trophy as Spanish League’s best player, the Club Marte Player of the Year award, was being tipped by the Italian media as the next Barca superstar, and his club was one of the favorites to win the Champions League.
But Carlos Alberto Torres did not know he had a grave diagnosis.
“I didn’t know how serious the disease was,” says Carlos Alberto Torres. “I thought I was going to die. They brought me out of the ambulance, but it was too late to save me.”
The Torres family flew to Mexico. When they arrived, they were greeted by friends and relatives.
“It was the last time I saw my children,” says Carlos Alberto Torres. “I remember my family telling me that, but I didn’t know what was happening to me.”
The family came to Mexico to be at Carlos Alberto Torres’ bedside. His doctors told him that his diagnosis and prognosis were a death sentence. He was told that he only had a few weeks to live.
He had cancer and he had no idea. It was the worst time in his life. All he could do was live for his wife, who was going through chemotherapy because she was in the U.S. fighting cancer.