Soccer world shocked by death of Real Betis player Miquel Roqué

Stars from club and country pay homage to onetime Liverpool defender who suffered from pelvic cancer

Miki Roqué (1988-2012) playing for Real Betis.
Miki Roqué (1988-2012) playing for Real Betis.TONI RODRIGUEZ (Diario As)

The Real Betis player, Miquel Roqué, died on Sunday at the age of just 23 after failing to overcome pelvic cancer diagnosed in January 2011. Roqué, who had also played at Liverpool, announced he would temporarily be taking some time out of soccer, and just two months later, on May 24, he underwent surgery in Barcelona.

The central defender from Catalonia went through the ranks at Lleida and then signed for Rafa Benítez’s Liverpool in 2005. The same season, at just 18, he made his debut in the Champions League against Galatasaray, becoming the youngest debutant in Liverpool’s European history. By the end of that same year he was playing for Oldham Athletic.

The following season Liverpool loaned him out to Xerez, and, as in 2008, he helped Cartagena to Second Division promotion. In the summer of 2009 he signed for Seville club Betis, and, after going between the first team and the B-team, finished in the first-team squad when Pepe Mel took charge of the verdiblancos. He made his debut with Spain’s under-21 side in February 2010.

You combined the values I wanted for this club: hope, desire and determination”

The Real Madrid player, Sergio Ramos, was one of the first to comment on the tragic news from Spain’s Euro 2012 camp in Poland: “Once again, how unfair this life is. I’ve just found out about the death of Miki Roqué. Speechless. The soccer world and the people that love you will never forget. My deepest condolences to your family, stay strong at such a difficult moment,” wrote the player who wears his old friend and former Sevilla star Antonio Puerta’s number 15 when playing for Spain. Puerta collapsed and died on the pitch in 2007.

“I wish Miki Roqué’s family all the strength in the world. Rest in peace,” the Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper Víctor Valdés wrote, also from the national squad’s camp.

“We’ve just lost a 23-year-old fighter who loved soccer and success. He’s left a big hole that will never be filled,” tweeted Betis coach Mel. “It’s hard to express the hole that has been left and the anger at it all. I learned from him as his trainer and his friend. See you soon Miki, every Sunday this season my first thought will be you. You combined the values I wanted for this club: hope, desire and determination.” On Monday the RFEF Spanish Football Federation, the LFP Liga authority and the AFE players’ association all offered their condolences to Roqué family. The funeral will be held at midday today in Lleida.

This article was compiled with information from www.as.com/english.

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