They were once teammates at PSV Eindhoven and the Dutch forward is the godfather to Colombian defender Arias’ son Thiago. On 20th September, they’ll meet in FC Barcelona vs Granada CF.
Before FC Barcelona and Granada CF’s LaLiga Santander match at the Camp Nou on Monday 20th September, Memphis Depay and Santiago Arias will look to share a smile and an embrace. The Dutchman and the Colombian have a special bond as they have been close friends since 2013, the year when the right-back joined Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, where Memphis was one of hottest young talents in the squad.
Over the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons, Memphis and Arias became very close. On the pitch, they played together 53 times for the Dutch side and lifted the Eredivisie title together in 2014/15. Off the pitch, they shared the same football agency and then quickly took that relationship to the next level, becoming inseparable friends.
Even after Memphis left PSV Eindhoven for Manchester United in 2015, this friendship continued. They remained close off the pitch and still spent time with each other’s families when they could, while they even came up against each other on the pitch in one of the Dutch forward’s first matches for Manchester United. In his eighth outing for the Red Devils, Memphis took on his former club in the Champions League and the ex-teammates played out an epic battle as Memphis occupied the English side’s left and scored a goal and as Arias stood firm enough at right-back to help the Dutch outfit win 2-1.
The second meeting back at Old Trafford was 0-0, the same scoreline as when the Netherlands and Colombia met in a 2013 friendly when the pair were both in the PSV Eindhoven squad. These three clashes are the only times Memphis and Arias have faced each other and the most recent of these took place in November of 2015, so this Monday’s FC Barcelona vs Granada CF encounter has been years in the making for the two friends.
In the meantime, their friendship has grown stronger and Memphis was even the godfather to Arias and his wife Karin Jiménez’s son Thiago. In 2018, the forward went to Colombia for the baptism and spent some time exploring his former teammate’s homeland. That was in 2018, when the Cafeteros were preparing for the World Cup in Russia and Memphis, whose Netherlands side didn’t make it, was even seen sporting a yellow Colombia shirt in support.
When they meet in FC Barcelona vs Granada CF, both players will be representing clubs that they’ve joined this summer. Memphis was one of Barça’s first acquisitions of the window and hit the ground running in pre-season, before assisting the Blaugrana’s first goal of their LaLiga Santander campaign and then scoring in Matchday 2 and Matchday 3. Meanwhile, Arias’ loan move from Atlético Madrid to Granada CF wasn’t confirmed until the penultimate day of the market and the Colombian is being eased into proceedings, following a serious leg fracture suffered when playing for his national team last autumn. Given their positions on the pitch, with Memphis often deployed on Barcelona’s left and with Arias a right-back, these two players could be seeing a lot of each other if they both start this fixture at the Camp Nou. Yet, their close friendship will be for before and after the match, not during. In between the first and final whistle, Memphis and Arias’ sole focus will be on securing a positive result for their respective sides.