Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez has revealed what it was like for him and his twin brother Theo to grow up without their father around.
The pair's father, former Atletico Madrid defender Jean-Francois Hernandez, left the family around 16 years ago, and neither brother has heard from him since.
Speaking to Goal, Lucas confessed that it was difficult to understand what was happening at such a young age, but said he has grown to accept that he was better off growing up without his father.
He said: "I never tried [to contact him]. Of course, when I was young, I thought about where he could be and would have liked to know more about it. However, the more time has passed, the less that was part of my thoughts. I thought more about myself and my life when I grew up.
"It finally became clear to me that he left because he did not love us. And if he did not love us, then it was better that he left. I am 23 years old now and I was five or six years old [when he left]. It would now have been about 16 or 17 years since we have heard nothing more from him.
"I don't know where he is, what he does, whether he is still alive or not. Meanwhile I have started my own little family. Since he has not contacted us so far, he will not be interested - or he simply does not feel like joining us."
Lucas has gone on to become one of the world's leading defenders with Bayern Munich, whilst Theo recently sealed an expensive move to AC Milan, and Lucas confessed that having the support of both his brother and mother made dealing with the situation much easier.
"Theo and I always had a football with us - morning, noon and night. We played together all the time. My brother is my best friend, we are very close," he added.
“We never understood why he left. So we just grew up with our mother. She lived, worked and gave everything to us. We did not miss anything. She told us what happened: that they broke up. One day my father was suddenly gone, we never heard from him again.
“Of course that was a bit complicated without a father at our side. But my mother has been very successful in fulfilling both mother and father roles. My brother and I had a complicated, but beautiful childhood.”