Man City’s Nolito’s mother Rocío lives in a squat and begs for food after a lifetime of heroin, prostitution and prison

rocioMOTHER of Manchester City’s Manuel ‘Nolito’ Agudo, Rocío, says she lives as a squatter and begs outside a supermarket whilst her son earns €116,000 a week in the UK and does not give her a penny.

Nolito has not commented on the story, which has made international headline news in both countries.

Rocío Agudo, 46, has even spoken to British left-wing tabloid The Mirror, admitting she has been in prison, and is now ‘trying to rebuild herself’ after a lifetime of heroin addiction and working as a prostitute.

She now has no income, so she squats in an empty flat in the family’s home town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz province) and begs outside a supermarket every day.

Nolito and his mother had a row a year ago via WhatsApp, Rocío said, and her son told her she ‘had a black soul’ (‘una alma negra’) and that she only ever contacted him when she wanted something.

He is said to have told her to steal food if she cannot eat, and told her in no uncertain terms ‘where to go’.

Nolito has a brother, Jesús and sister, Candela, both aged six, who squat and beg with their mother.

Rocío says the player used to pay her rent on her apartment in Sanlúcar, but stopped doing so and she had to break into a repossessed flat and set up camp there illegally.

She said she had reproached her eldest son for hiring a cleaner for his flat in Manchester instead of getting her to do the job.

Clearly, the problems with Nolito and his mother date back long before – the 29-year-old has always considered his grandparents, Rocío’s mum and dad, as his own parents.

Dolores and Manuel brought him up, and he dedicates his every goal to his grandfather Manuel, who died when Nolito was 21.

Nolito’s twin brother and sister were born since then – in jail, where she was serving a total of 13 years in custody for drug-related offences connected with the heroin addiction that cost her custody of her eldest son – and Nolito and his wife Laura are said to holiday in one of three villas he has in the Sanlúcar area, just 10 minutes away from his mother’s squat by car.

Rocío got pregnant with the twins when her boyfriend visited her in jail, and that she had been a drug addict for over 20 years.

Her habit started when she was aged 17 and her son Nolito not quite two, after she was ‘thrown out of home’ following a row and ‘got in with a bad crowd’.

She gave custody of her son to her own parents shortly afterwards in an informal family arrangement, but says she and Nolito ‘had been talking to each other’ until about a year ago – back when her son was playing for Celta de Vigo FC.

She claims the fall-out happened when Nolito ‘promised’ to buy an apartment specially adapted for her brother, Nolito’s uncle Marco Antonio, who was severely disabled, but that nothing ever came of it.

Marco Antonio had been living in the storeroom because it was on the ground floor and he did not have to use the stairs.

He died 11 months ago.

Rocío is convinced Nolito has been ‘persuaded’ by ‘friends and other family’ that an ‘ex-convict’ and ‘ex-junkie’ for a mother is ‘bad for his image’ and could hold back his career.

But he had always visited her in jail, helping to get her out early and paying her rent for 18 months, she said.

And ‘money has changed him’, Rocío says, but that ‘he does not like it’ that she ‘tells it like it is’ rather than ‘fawning over him’ the way his ‘hangers-on’ do.

Rocío’s mother Dolores – Nolito’s grandmother, who brought him up – did not want to give a statement without Nolito’s consent, but insisted the entire story was a lie.

“It’s dreadful the way she’s bad-mouthing him – I don’t understand who a mother could do that to her own flesh and blood,” Dolores apparently said.

She told The Mirror that her grandson was ‘a really humble person’ and ‘a true friend to his friends’, who had ‘always helped’ his mother and her twin children.

“The problem was that she just kept asking for more and more,” Dolores explained.

Last year, Rocío made a video of herself and posted it on YouTube, showing her holding up a hand-written sign and standing outside Nolito’s spacious detached villa in Sanlúcar, reading: “I am Rocío Agudo Durán, mother of Manuel ‘Nolito’, who plays for Celta [as he did then] and the Spanish national team. But my son will not help me and I cannot find a job, so I’m forced to beg for food for my two small children.”

Published Think Spain12 November 2016

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