MAY 23 — Despite all the bling, the big watches and fast cars, the brand management and media training, there is still one thing that, without fail, can expose the true nature of soccer players.
As Didier Drogba stroked home the winning penalty against Bayern Munich in Saturday’s Champions league final and the blue-clad parts of the stadium exploded, the studied cool of the young Chelsea millionaires went out the window.
Shirts came off. Spain’s Fernando Torres wrapped a scarf around his head, looking for all the world like a British tourist trying to avoid the worst effects of the sun on the Costa Del Sol.
David Luiz donned a T-shirt and a blue-and-white stovepipe hat; curls flowing from under it, the effect was that of a soccer-playing Slash, the former Guns ‘n Roses guitarist.
Others wrapped themselves in the flags of their nations thrown to them by the crowd.
For men whose images are usually so tightly controlled and exploited, it was a remarkable display of youthful exuberance, reminiscent of Cafu raising the World Cup with joyous messages scribbled on his Brazil shirt by his team-mates.
But perhaps most remarkable of all was the costume change of one John Terry.
Suspended for the final after a red card against Barcelona in the semis, Terry watched anxiously from the stands, stylishly clad in his club suit together with the rest of his banned team-mates.
But by the time the celebrations began, he was down on the pitch in full Chelsea kit.
Was this dedicated follower of fashion trying to fool us into thinking he had played?
Or was he trying to help the photographers he sometimes tries to avoid by not ruining the aesthetics of their pictures?
Either way, it was a bizarre change for a man not involved in the game.
By the time the press conferences came around, the air of cool was restored again and the players were back to giving stock answers to reporters questions.
But the photographers still have the evidence of the night that Chelsea won the Champions League, David Luiz’s wild curls were tamed by a fluffy hat, and John Terry celebrated victory in a match kit that shone almost as brightly as the trophy itself. — Reuters
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.