Separated at birth; united by fate. Debojyoti Chakraborty chronicles the conversation of the conjoined twins of English Football who were destined to come across each other at a pub on a cold Manchester evening
It was a freezing New Year’s Eve in a suburb in Manchester – a perfect occasion to head out to a bar and nurse a pint of beer to embrace the New Year.
And so our two central characters walk into a pub. One of them, a Latino, evident from his strong accent, was looking for something non-alcoholic, much to the amusement of the people around. After struggling for a while, he somehow managed to get hold of a drink which appeared (and smelt) like orange juice. But the pub was jam-packed by that time. So he had to share the table with a lanky East European.
“Enjoy your drink, Sir, you are both riding on the same boat now” said the waitress with a perky smile and disappeared.
“Hi mate, take a seat” greeted the lanky figure, with a strong Bulgarian accent, “Good to see you again!”
The Latin American dropped his hood, smiled and took a seat. Not sure how much he understood, not sure if he was greeted or abused as the scar running through his neck was more expressive than his facial muscles.
“Little wonder that we are both here today, isn’t it?” the Bulgarian continued. “After all, neither of us feature in our club’s first XI. But hey, I didn’t call you, in fact, don’t even have your number!” he said with an impish grin.
“I wanna play,” was the Latino’s short and curt reply.
“Hey, don’t you recognize me? We were there at the annual awards ceremony last year, holding the Golden Boot together!” He looks a tad perplexed.
“Ya, ya…I wanna play,” is all he could mutter, reminiscing his glory days.
“Strange mate, isn’t it?” he is now starting to lose it, “I banged in a score last season, yet I don’t fit into the gaffer’s plans. Don’t you think I deserve to play?”
“Yup, play football,” he confirmed before ordering his favourite grilled beef.
“It’s all fate, my dear, who would have thought that both of us would struggle to get a game last season?”
The scar-face was not amused at all, especially since his beef too was out of stock.
“I think I should make a move now, maybe next season I’ll be heading towards Italy.”
“Ya, ya, Italia!” exclaimed the enthusiastic Latino.
The East European was under the cosh, but his humility was still intact, “I think I see what the manager wants. I no longer feature in his plans, not even as the third best striker. He might even let me go. What do you think?”
One word that struck him was “Go”. He started feeling nostalgic about his two daughters and started to leave.
“Hey, you leaving so early?” he mocked. “Or are you not used to warming the seats nowadays? Ha ha ha!!”
The curly-haired Latino was all but gone by then. The tall East European sipped his red wine and was lost in his own thoughts. Maybe they will bump into each other someday again. In some other city, some other country. Maybe, just maybe.
P.S.: Things have changed slightly after this piece was written. The scar-face has been summoned from his (self-imposed) suspension amidst a mini crisis in his club. His lanky friend (really?) is pondering over a similar scheme – how about an accidental food poisoning in the squad which would leave the gaffer with no other option? Or, a few match bans handed over to the star strikers in the team? That would help. May the poor guy dream in peace.
The Best XI
The Best XI section is an attempt to connect similar football events across different locations and share them with you. Best XI will seek to be about topics you are interested about and want explored. Send in your topics for the month of September to email@example.com and we will incorporate that.
In this edition we bring to you snippets of goals scored by the highest goalscorers in some of the top leagues of Europe.
Barclays Premier League
Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United) – 20
Berbatov shows great technique to control the ball before his back volley goes in of the woodwork to wrap up a wonderful Manchester move. Goalkeeper had no chance. This was his 5th goal of the season, one which ended in Berbatov turning out to be the top scorer.
Carlos Tévez (Manchester City) – 20
Tevez shoots a quick one and boy doesn’t he let it fly. It’s a goal resulting from great vision and perfect execution. The goalkeeper had chosen the right direction to dive but the three man wall smacked of complacency from Stoke who didn’t think Tevez would try that. And that is what he did.
Spanish Primera Liga
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – 40
Ronaldo’s wonderful season produced many great goals. The one we had chosen was against Bilbao. Ronaldo’s excellent first touch and pace had him one on one with the last defender. This was followed by sublime skill and cool finish past the keeper.
Mario Gómez (Bayern Munich) – 28
Super Mario is one of the old fashioned opportunists. Most of his 28 goals would be a close tap in or a header from the edge of the 6 yard box. This one was no exception. The Bundesliga top scorer capped this wonderful move with a great strike after dodging his marker off his shoulder inside out.
Antonio Di Natale (Udinese) – 28
Toto’ Di Natale’s long ranger was one of the super strikes which saw Di Natale ending up top of the Serie A chart second season running, scoring a mammoth 56 goals in rwo seasons.
Moussa Sow (Lille) – 25
Moussa Sow showed wonderful athleticism in front of goal and ended up scoring with a well timed back volley. The keeper had his work cut out.
Liga Zon Sagres Portugal
Hulk (Porto) – 23
Hulk is known for great ability with the ball and his skills. But he is no mug when it comes to long range shooting. We chose this one for his remarkable technique and vision – creating a goal out of nothing
Russian Premiere League
Welliton (Spartak Moscow) – 19
Welliton is a hardworking Brazilian and scoring goals is a natural ability. Welliton caps this well tuned move with a header on his way to end up the season with 19 goals.
Vyshcha Liha Ukraine
Yevhen Seleznyov (Shakhtar Donetsk) – 17
Seleznyov, they say is capable of doing wonders. The talented young player proved them when he scored this brilliant goal with a wonderful overhead kick.
Björn Vleminckx (N.E.C) – 23
Vleminckx is described as a very physical and determined striker, who although not highly technical, makes up for it with good heading ability and great shooting. For this one, he held the ball well, kept his balance and pulled off a great finish with a powerful shot – in off the woodwork.
Turkey Süper Lig
Alexsandro ‘Alex’ de Souza (Fenerbahce) – 28
Alex showed his Brazilian touch when he scored this perfect free kick – top corner, top draw.
Greece Super League
Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos) – 20
Cisse has done wonders at Panathinaikos. His pace, power and accuracy combined for this amazing strike.