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For anybody still claiming that the best stories in sports don’t come from soccer, we defy you to top this one.
Enner Valencia is one of Ecuador’s best players and surely its top striker. But Valencia apparently had an outstanding child support bill in his home country of about $17,000. Valencia plays for Everton in the English Premier League, on loan from West Ham United, and can absolutely afford $17,000. But lawyers for the mother of his 5-year-old child apparently had to resort to getting an arrest warrant just to get her paid.
Since Valencia probably isn’t in the country much, police showed up at the stadium ahead of Thursday’s World Cup qualifier between Ecuador and Chile, the reigning South American champions. World Cup qualifiers, in case you hadn’t guessed it, are a big deal.
They knew he’d be there, after all, and tried to arrest Valencia before the game, apparently unsuccessfully.
But it’s not like he could hide. The police knew where he was, and he was trapped. So what did Valencia do? In the 82nd minute of the game, with Ecuador up 3-0 and the game done and dusted, he left the game injured. Some — many, in fact — believe that he faked the injury.
He had to be carted off the field and was given oxygen, with a mask covering his face, as several police officers ran after the striker and the medics tending to him.
Pretending to be unconscious is kind of perfect, isn’t it? A leg injury doesn’t stop the police from asking you questions and placing you under arrest. But if they can’t talk to you, what do they do? Valencia left the stadium in an ambulance, completing his jailbreak.
Police apparently did catch up to him eventually though, and Valencia came to some kind of agreement with his baby mama.
It turns out you can’t escape being a deadbeat dad, even if you can stage a successful getaway from a stadium filled with 30,000 fans and in which the police have you surrounded.