There will surely not be a stranger reasoning for a deal in European football this summer than that which took Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo on loan from Villarreal to newly promoted Huesca.
The central defender – who only joined the Yellow Submarine a year ago in a €14m deal from Portuguese giants Sporting CP – has joined Huesca on a season-long loan deal. The astonishing aspect of the move is that the Portuguese player is awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and robbery.
The 24-year-old was behind bars for five months and was only released last week after paying a paying a €30,000 deposit. The most serious charge relates to an incident on 20 February, when Semedo was detained for supposedly tying up and assaulting a man in his home alongside two others, then proceeding to go to the victim’s house to rob the property.
The Portuguese is now not allowed to leave Spain while he waits to hear his fate. Furthermore, he must return to court on a weekly basis with a signature to confirm his whereabouts while he is also not allowed to go within 300m of the alleged victim of the attacks.
The complainant alleges that he was locked in a room after being immobilised, while the accused stole his keys, broke into his apartment and carried out large scale theft, with gunshots also said to be involved to intimidate the individual.
Subsequently, the footballer was denied various appeals for bail until last week while he was also suspended without pay by Villarreal. It was not the Portugal international’s first run-in with the law whilst in Spain. Three months earlier he had allegedly held a firearm on his person in a nightclub in Valencia while in a separate incident, he was charged with smashing a glass bottle over a man’s head.
“Ruben is in a very good condition physically and he played matches in prison,” Huesca sporting director Emilio Vega said on Cadena Ser. “We will not judge him, he is here because of his football talent and it is up to the justice system to make a ruling and we must always act on assuming people are innocent.”
Vega also insisted the tranquillity of Huesca ‘would be good’ for the defender and that everyone ‘deserves a second chance’. The club are aware that they are only acquiring an individual of his sporting talent due to his off-field discretions, but such a gamble is a risky one. Semedo’s state of mind and volatile nature do not bode well for the season ahead. Huesca will not wish to be remembered for a short stint in the top flight and having signed a felon.