There’s nothing like seeing a fan favourite score a goal. A surge of emotion and passion fills the stadium as said player gallops around on their victory lap, reminding even those that were too busy tweeting to see their finish, that it was they who was responsible for the eruption of cheers and screams filling their ears, and not the One Direction concert at the hall a few blocks away.
Yes, this is all fine and dandy until that fan favourite joins a new club and scores a goal in the same stadium his name was sung so loudly. This has most recently been the reality for Chelsea and Manchester United fans.
If you’re a fan of English football it seems like no matter which club you support, at some point that £50 you spent on your favorite player’s shirt will feel like a bigger waste of money than that new ‘Smartwatch’ you’re thinking about buying.
Picture this; you go to the dentist regularly for a cleaning and checkup — Genevieve Morton being your practitioner, or some other beautiful person. Every time you go in you’re happy to see them – your visits usually ending with a smile and a goodie bag. Imagine then, after years of relatively pain-free visits that all of a sudden, they decide that you need all four of your wisdom teeth pulled, on the spot, at the same time. That’s what it felt like when Robin Van Persie scored for Manchester United against my beloved/damaged Arsenal Football Club. Arsenal fans went from singing “He Scores When He Wants”, to “She Said No Robin”, in reference to RVP’s arrest on suspicion of rape in 2005.
I’m pretty sure United fans can empathize with me a little seeing homegrown, Manchester boy, Danny Welbeck score the winner on Monday night, knocking the club he spent 13 years of his young life with out of the FA Cup and pretty much killing their hopes of trophy retrieval this season.
But then again, is it really as bad as thinking you’ve pulled off the crime of the century by selling an average central defender to a wealthy French club for £50 million and having said defender score at your stadium to help knock you out of the UEFA Champions League?
David Luiz is a player who was written off by many after his horrific performance in a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Ze Germans during the World Cup last summer, a month after becoming the most expensive defender the history of football. The Internet, as usual lost its mind, and memes and other forms of comics ran rampant. A personal favorite of mine featured Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Chief Executive of Paris St-Germain, in deep thought wondering “where’d I put that receipt for David Luiz?”. As a neutral fan you can’t help but feel happy for him knowing everything he’s had to overcome recently, and he made it known on Wednesday night in London.
In the 31st minute of their second leg clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, PSG went down to ten men, losing their best, and one of the world’s best footballers, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, after a rash challenge on Oscar. In the 81st minute they had to respond to not only being down a man, but a goal, as a Diego Costa scuffed shot fell almost angelically to the feet of Gary Cahill who put in a striker’s finish to put his side up 1-0, and 2-1 on aggregate.
Trying to come back in the last nine minutes of a match against a Mourinho coached side at home, PSG needed a miracle, and David Luiz provided it. After multiple Paris St-Germain attacks, the side from the capital of France won a corner kick. Most would’ve assumed that if they were to even the game up, it would be from a set piece. Argentine winger Ezequiel Lavezzi lofted in a corner from the right so lovely that I wanted to ask it out for a pint. In comes David Luiz, essentially a Stamford Bridge-reject, rising above Chelsea defenders with a leap Michael Jordan himself would envy, the ball meeting his forehead at pace and speeding past the Belgian goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, to take a seat in the back of the net.
David Luiz’s victory lap is one that Chelsea fans will want to, but won’t soon forget. You could tell how much that goal meant to him as he ran towards the traveling PSG fans and slid on knees across the pitch making a sound that could only be labelled as a cry of victory.
Of course by now you know that PSG went on to win on away goals, and David Luiz and co. got the last laugh.
Having advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, the crazy-haired Brazilian center back has a chance to repay his new club their £50 million and then some, especially if they end up winning it all.
Trust me Chelsea fans, I know.
David Luiz is just one of many on a never-ending list of players that came back with a vengeance to burn their former Premier League clubs. Sol Campbell, Frank Lampard, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Cristiano Ronaldo, just to name a few. That’s just the reality of football. These cases are just a reminder to us that at the end of the day football is a business.
We love our team’s players.
They can rarely do wrong in our eyes until their name belongs to the back of an unfamiliar shirt. Never has there been a more brittle relationship than that of a footballer and a fan. We can love you today and hate you tomorrow.
All of this adds to the beauty of the game.