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"In any language, the whole world is united by a ball." --- Steve Amoia, World Football Commentaries

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Warm Embrace On A Cold Norwegian Night

Image courtesy of
Getty Images.
Please click the image
to view video clips of
tonight's UCL game.

Earlier tonight, in a freezing (0 Celsius) Trondheim, Norway, I saw something that reminded me that sportmanship and sincerity are still alive. Even between two highly-paid athletes who compete for the same role for one of the richest football clubs in the world.

Rosenborg was facing Chelsea during matchday 5 in the UEFA Champions League. The earlier leg was won by the Norwegians; however, tonight was a different matter. Chelsea won convincingly, 0 x 4.
But I witnessed something that was very striking between two strikers. No pun intended.
Removal of Gloves

When Drogba, who scored a brace, was substituted in the 68th minute by Shevchenko, a strange thing happened. Due to the cold weather, many of the players were wearing gloves. Drogba, in what appeared to me as a very deliberate gesture, removed his right one as he approached Shevchenko, who immediately did the same. They shook hands and embraced each other. When other players were substituted, they did not remove their gloves upon greeting their teammates.

Shevchenko has endured a difficult start to his English experience. He was criticized by the former Chelsea manager, Mr. Mourinho, by fans, the media, and at one point, even by Drogba himself. But tonight was a heartfelt reminder of teamwork, sincerity, and mutual understanding.
If anyone can understand Sheva's frustration, and walk a few kilometers in his boots, especially in the highly scrutinized position of striker, it would be Didier Drogba.

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