Moises Caicedo has been hiding a secret family turmoil while battling to live up to his billing as Britain’s most expensive footballer.
The £115million Chelsea midfielder is, according to The Sun, only now able to relax knowing his loved ones are safe back home in strife-torn Ecuador.
Bombs, gang violence and even an armed incursion on set during a live TV broadcast have rocked the South American country, with the shockwaves reaching all the way to Stamford Bridge.
Caicedo, who cost the Blues £100m up front with a further £15m due in add-ons, featured in Chelsea’s routing of Middlesbrough on Tuesday evening.
But football has been the last thing on his mind in recent times, with Chelsea even forking out for security to protect their star player’s relatives during the turmoil.
Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino said: “It is true that a few weeks ago he was really worried.
“The situation is not easy. In South America it is not only Ecuador. Normally, the club cares not just for him but for everyone.
“If you have problems, the club is there to try to help us in different ways.
“If it has happened it is a good thing from the club to help the player because we need him in his best condition to compete.
“Every day we have been talking about how the situation is in Ecuador. At the moment it is good news, in his case, with his family.
“I only know that the family is good and safe.
“You know very well that this could affect the performance of the player if something is going wrong with the family.
“He is OK now, he feels better. He says the situation there is not normal but it is improving and now it is more relaxed.”
The situation contains chilling echoes of Liverpool forward Luiz Diaz’s living nightmare when his parents were kidnapped by armed men on motorbikes back home in Colombia at the end of last year.
In the last 24 hours alone, police in Ecuador arrested 68 suspected gangsters who stormed a hospital to protect one of their members receiving treatment in the facility.
Nurses and doctors were taken hostage and gunfire exchanged with cops.
The unrest stems from Ecuador president Daniel Noboa’s declared war on organised crime in Caicedo’s homeland.
Photo Credit: MoisesCaicedo55/ X