Lucas Hernandez accepted he needed “to be smarter and more cautious” when questioned on what he’d learned from the issue which has dominated his personal live over the past five weeks.
The talented 21-year-old defender has gradually been integrated into the first-team plans of Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid over the past 18 months, profiting from injuries to Uruguayan duo Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez and the ever-increasing requirement for rotation.
A rising star internationally with France – he is now an established member of a highly-rated Under 21 side – his future looks favourable. His father Jean-François had spells with Toulouse, Sochaux and Marseille before closing his career in Spain, including a season-long stint at Estadio Vicente Calderon.
He was always keen for his football-mad sons Lucas and Theo to move to Atleti’s famed youth system after starting off at Madrid-based Rayo Majadahonda, moves which came to fruition in 2007 with the pair aged 11 and 9-years-old respectively.
Theo, the younger of the pair, is also extremely highly-rated and has enjoyed a successful loan spell at Deportivo Alaves who’s remarkable season back in La Liga has seen them win at Barcelona and Villarreal, draw twice with Atleti and once with Sevilla, alongside reaching the Copa del Rey decider.
However such is the nature of the Spanish game and it’s media, players outside of the two Madrid powers and Barcelona tend to go under-the-radar with less scrutiny and focus which often is a preferable environment for younger players developing.
Madrid itself has two daily sports papers – Marca and AS – which each dedicate column inches to the most mundane aspects of the capital’s two powerhouses and their players, with any minor mistake or slip-up dissected and scrutinised.
With that in mind, its little wonder such uproar came about when Los Rojiblancos defender Lucas was arrested, along with his ex-girlfriend, at 2am on Friday 3rd February and charged with domestic violence.
The exact details were not known but that did not stop the press from having a field day, with column inches to fill around a juicy story.
Four days later, Lucas was introduced as a second half substitute by Simeone during a draw at Camp Nou and the home fans booed every touch and mention of the French defenders name.
There were calls from prosecutors for jail terms but three-and-a-half weeks after the original incident, a court decided to hand both Lucas and Amelia Lorente 31 days of community service, with Lorente also fined €180 for damaged to his car.
It’s easy to draw conclusions and make judgements, especially on young and extremely well-paid sporting stars who get into trouble with the law and whilst many of those will be unfair and misplaced, Lucas’s is an unforgiving career and the admission of needing greater awareness and asserting more caution was a considered one.
These sorts of incidents can damage young player’s psychology; distracting and derailing careers in a profession which often leaves little room for error.
If Lucas is to fulfil his dreams of succeeding with club and country, he simply has no option but to knuckle-down, stabilise his personal life and focus solely on his developing his immense skill set.