After my previous comments on the ‘bad’ side of football, I took a look at the ‘good’ side and found some very emotional stories about how players pay respects to one another. This category can also include ‘sportmanship’ which was most famously demonstrated by Paoulo Di Canio when he picked up the ball where he was in a position to score but the opposition keeper was injured. (see link below)
When it comes to tributes to fellow players however, some stories are moving. It’s the World Cup Final in 2011, Spain Vs Holland and in the 115th minute of the match, Iniesta grabs the winner for Spain. In delirious happiness he takes his top off to celebrate and underneath his jersey, he is donning a white vest. On this vest it simply says “Dani Jarque siempre con nosotros” which means in English “Dani Jarque, always with us.”
This story goes back to the 8th August 2009 when Dani Jarque tragically collapased during Espanyol’s pre-season tour of Italy. Dani Jarque had previously played with Iniesta during his time with the Spanish under 21’s and both had become good friends. After the World Cup, Iniesta’s Barcelona travelled to Espanyol (Jarque’s old club). As Espanyol is situated in the city of Barcelona, rivalry is high between the two clubs but the reception Andres Iniesta then recieved when he was substituted was astounding. Every Espanyol fan stood and clapped him off the pitch. Iniesta’s name was also shown on the back of an Espanyol shirt with the number 21 (Jarque’s retired number) during the game.
This one tribute just shows how rivalry can be forgotten in football sometimes and how both players and sets of fans can work together to create a better, kinder atmosphere in the sport.