Alejandro Villanueva is a retired American professional football offensive tackle who played for seven seasons in the National Football League and is best known for his time in the league.
Alejandro Villanueva is one man who made a name for himself in the NFL. Even if you do not know him for his prowess on the field of play, you will certainly remember him for his antics during the NFL protests. While his teammates decided to remain off-field during the national anthem, Villanueva was spotted singing the anthem in the tunnel. This fetched him an equal amount of praise and vilification, and he has been in the national consciousness ever since then.
His Early Life and Background
Alejandro Villanueva Martinez was born on the 22nd of September 1988 in Meridian, Mississippi. His father was a highly-ranked naval officer and as such, he had the upbringing of a regular army brat. Villanueva spent his formative years in several countries, including Spain and Belgium, and received his high school diploma in 2008.
He subsequently enrolled in the United States Military Academy, New York, and studied systems engineering. Upon graduation in 2010, Villanueva was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. He has since served three tours of duty in Afghanistan and has risen to the rank of captain. The Mississippi native has also received several medals for his valor including the revered bronze star medal.
Alejandro Villanueva’s Fact Sheet
A Look at Alejandro Villanueva’s NFL Career So Far
Alejandro Villanueva first fell in love with football during his high school days in Belgium. He was subsequently recruited to play for the Military Academy’s football team known as the Army Black Knights. He played four years of college football and rose to the position of team captain in his senior year.
Despite these exploits, Villanueva went undrafted in the 2010 NFL draft. He thus returned to his first love which is the military. After four years of active service, Villanueva decided to pursue his football ambitions once more. He paid to participate in several combines held by the NFL and was eventually signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014. Since joining the Steelers, Villanueva has helped his team to record several achievements. He has also recorded some individual accolades including a nomination to the Pro Bowl (the NFL’s all-star game) in 2017.
Alejandro Villanueva’s NFL career has however not come without some controversies. In 2017, Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in America. His move sparked a revolution of sorts and threw the NFL into disarray. Amid the whole controversy, Villanueva’s team decided that they would avoid the field during the singing of the national anthem. Villanueva, however, opted to sing the anthem in the tunnel as he believed he would not be visible to the cameras. The reverse turned out to be the case and many accused him of betraying his teammates. The army veteran later clarified that he never meant to undermine his team and that he regretted the whole thing.
What We Know About His Wife and Family
Some sports stars derive joy in settling down while others avoid it like the plague. One person who belongs to the former category is Alejandro Villanueva. The NFL star is happily married to the gorgeous Madelyn Villanueva, nee Muldoon.
Madelyn is an alumnus of Marist College, New York. She holds a degree in public relations and works for an accomplished firm. So, how did the couples meet? Well, legend has it that Villanueva and his wife were introduced by her elder brother who happened to be his teammate in college. They commenced a romantic relationship in early/mid-2012 and tied the knot in an intimate ceremony held in November 2013. The couple also formalized their vows in a Catholic ceremony held in May 2015. Villanueva and his wife have since established an enviable and scandal-free marriage. They have also welcomed a son in the course of their union.
Alejandro Villanueva hails from a family of six. His father’s name is Ignacio while his mother’s name is Matilde Martinez. His parents are both Spanish and only relocated to America as a result of work demands.
The NFL player has three younger siblings: a brother named Inaki and his sisters Paloma and Carmen. Inaki is a professional athlete who specializes in rugby sevens. He has played for the Spanish national team on several occasions. He did not only helped the team to qualify for the Rio Olympics but also represented them at the summer games.