With club football now being treated as the personal fiefdom of the super-rich, and being run as a big business, it’s not very often these days that you get to see truly inspiring, or heart-warming gestures, reminiscent of a simpler time. The world sat up and took notice when Andres Iniesta celebrated his 116th-minute World Cup winning goal by revealing a personal message, dedicated to a friend, written on his under shirt. It read “Dani Jarque, siempre con nosotros”. Dani Jarque, was the captain of Espanyol and a close friend of Iniesta, who had tragically passed away during a game due to a massive heart-attack. By that simple gesture, at a time when mourning a demise ought to have been the last thing on his mind, Andres Iniesta helped remind us just why football unites.
It also serves as the inspiration for this category. Help us figure out which one inspired you the most.
Los Che remember Japanese victims
The Valencia CF players took the field during a La Liga match against Sevilla wearing a special edition home jersey, which had the names of the entire club players printed in Japanese, in addition to obeying a minute’s silence before the kickoff. This was small tribute made by the Spanish giants in memory of the thousands of victims and survivors affected by the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami. The club shares a special connection with the affected Asian country as the club toured Japan in 2004 and VCF has its soccer schools located in the cities of Kobe and Osaka. The gesture made by the club attested their solidarity with the victims and their families, and certainly, the detail of it will be etched in every fans heart and mind, making the Los Che fans proud of their club all over the world.
Real Madrid and Lyon wishing Eric Abidal-defying UEFA’s Decision
Both Real Madrid and Lyon met in the round of 16 in the Champions’ league for the second time in as many years, but the post match pictures, on almost all the football blogs and sites, were ruled by an amazing gesture made by both the clubs after the final whistle. Eric Abidal, who plied his trade at an early age in the suburbs of Lyon, before joining the Spanish champions Barcelona, had to undergo a surgery to cure a tumor which had developed in the left back’s liver. After UEFA did not allow players in the match to wear shirts showing support for Abidal, the players put on slogan shirts after the match to demonstrate their support and good wishes for Eric Abidal. It was a tremendous gesture made by both the clubs, especially Real Madrid CF, undoubtedly Barcelona’s arch rivals, making sure that they were not left behind in wishing a fellow footballer.
James Morrison asking the Ref to revert the Red Card
The act of James Morrison of West Bromwich Albion during a premier league encounter with Everton at the Hawthorns certainly led to some jaw drops around the footballing community. The Toffees introduced Diniyar Bilyaletdinov in the second half, after going down by a solitary goal before the break. The Russian international was shown a direct red card by the referee Anthony Taylor, who was unimpressed by his lunge. However, the Baggies midfielder tried to persuade the referee to change his decision as he claimed that Bilyaletdinov never touched him. Despite all his efforts, Bilyaletdinov was sent off, but it gave us a fabulous moment to cherish. In today’s world, where we see players play-acting and diving to get the opponents booked intentionally, this spontaneous gesture by James Morrison certainly came as a breath of fresh air.
Puyol asking Abidal to lift the Champions League Trophy
Barcelona Captain Carles Puyol invited Eric Abidal to lift the coveted Big Ears (UEFA Champions league Winners trophy) after the Catalan side humbled Manchester United in the final at Wembley. As the team made way for the Frenchman to lift the trophy, Abidal’s emotions got better of him as the left back was stunned with gratitude and exclaimed that he was left speechless at the gesture. The 31 year-old made a return to the side and was substituted late in the last ‘el clasico’ at Camp Nou in the semi-final amidst a rapturous reception by the fans. Lifting the champions league trophy is what every captain dreams of, and letting a teammate, who had gone through a torrid time and recovered to find his way back to the first team, do the honors was a sweet gesture and the icing on a tasty Barcelona cake.
Borussia Dortmund playing for a Noble cause
Newly-crowned German champions Borussia Dortmund played a charity match against Japan XI in Duisburg last month, raising over 1 million Euros ($1.4 million) for the victims and families who suffered the aftermath of the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the Asian country two months ago. A strong crowd witnessed their regular stars gear up for this match, against a team of Japanese Bundesliga players and former German footballers who had played or coached in Japan. Die Schwarzgelben went on to win the match comfortably, stamping their dominance, which the German side had demonstrated throughout the year. The healthy amount of money raised by the event will be used towards various projects in Japan, such as the reconstruction of a children’s home in Tohoku-Ichinosekishi which was destroyed by the natural disaster .
Our audience has voted something which Puyol did on that night at Wembley as The Best Sporting Gesture of the Season, and quite deservingly so. Barcelona Captain Carles Puyol invited Eric Abidal to lift the coveted Champions league trophy. As the team made way for the Frenchman to lift the trophy, Abidal’s emotions got better of him as the left back was stunned with gratitude. Lifting the champions league trophy is what every captain dreams of, and letting a team-mate, who had gone through a torrid time and recovered to find his way back to the first team, do the honors was a special gesture indeed.