“The Beautiful Game” is the way Brazilian legend and former Santos striker defined the game of football and to this day we are still using this expression.
“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.” Is how former Liverpool and Scotland midfielder valued football.
“I learned all about life with a ball at my feet” is how Selecao magician described his experience with football
We always say that “its much more than just a game” and here you are gonna know why,
Football is a sport that literally changed countries and touched millions of people around the whole globe and is the most watched sport in the world, especially with the famous world cup event(3.2 billion viewers in 2014).Football is a sport that combine passion, love, loyalty, hatred, excitement, nervousness, sadness, angriness for 90 minutes in one place.
“Its not about the name on the back, its about the badge in front” David Beckham
In 2006 a civil war took place in the African Ivorian coast, where 2 sets of people were against each other (the Muslims and the Christians), another important event in 2006 was the world cup, and the Ivorian team had to win their last game in the qualifiers in order to book a place in the summer of 2006. During the emotional 90 minutes in the crowd there was Muslims and Christian but on that day that was not their identity, their identity that day were only Ivorian football fans that are here united and determined to not leave the stadium without giving 100000% of their effort to support the 11 players on the pitch, this is why I believe that football is more than just a game, on that Ivorian teams there was Muslim and Christian players but what united them was their jersey, same color same logo but most of all same goal: get to the world cup at all cost, these players knew what their duty was, they did not wanna let the fans down so they gave it their all and won the game for the families, the children, the culture and most of all for their country.
You thought that was it…no the fairytale goes on, after the game, in the dressing room the Ivorian team, lead by captain Didier Drogba gave a speech on their knees calling for unity of the population and community, and a few days later Drogba (Christian) asked from the president to go and give a speech in the Muslim area of the country, something that the president himself wanted to do but was afraid for his safety, but Drogba was determined and after a few weeks the civil war was stopped.
“Success is no accident” Pele
The examples could go on, one of the greatest players to ever touched a football was diagnosed with a disease in his growth hormones but because of his talent the Barcelona academy La Masia payed for his treatment and signed him, he was only 13 when he left his country to go and live in another country but it was all for The Beautiful game and now with 4 Champions league trophies 8 league titles 5 domestic cup titles and 5 ballon d or Lionel Messi thought that football was much more than a game.
“Playing football with your feet is one thing and playing with your heart is another”
The love and passion of the fans for their football team could go beyond any limit and that was proven in 2005 in the final of the Champions League in Istanbul where in the first half AC Milan were up 3-0 against the red Liverpool at half time, and once the second time kicked off the Liverpool fans started singing their famous You will never walk alone anthem and the atmosphere and the mood in the stadium changed
PS: Liverpool scored 3 goals in that second half and won on penalties and won their 5th Champions league trophy.
“When I say goodbye to football I will cry for life, so when I die do not bury me in a cemetery or elsewhere, make me a temple next to a football stadium and bury me with a ball because the ball is my life” Ronaldinho
If you wouldn’t mind let me talk about what I call my personal relationship with football, it all began when I was a young lad playing FIFA with my older cousin and the only teams I knew at the time were Manchester United and Real Madrid but since my cousin supported United I had no choice, I remember playing with Becks and Giggsy on the flanks and Van Nistelrooy as a striker and scoring free kicks and it all meant the world to me.
I still remember scoring my first hat trick in school and how happy it made me, see I was never talented in football but I loved it more than anything. Football was the only thing that gave me purpose, the only thing that could turn my day around and change my mood completely, the 90 minutes I watch and analyze gives me so such energy and adrenaline i can’t explain It. For me ,when Manchester United are playing, its that merge between excitement and nervousness, wearing my kit in front of a TV when i’m home alone to somehow support the players, screaming and shouting when I know they will never hear me. Must be what Canadians do while watching their favorite hockey team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs or North Americans while watching American Football.
Then came the day for me to watch my first game in a stadium, it was in the summer of 2016 where I watched 2 games: Northern Ireland vs Wales and Italy vs Spain.
Each game meant something to me, the Northern Ireland game was my first ever so the experience was the main factor, but to see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears the Northern Ireland fans singing until after the final whistle even though their team got knocked out of the competition and taking a picture with Jonny Evans, former United player and I used to play with him on FIFA
Then the Italy vs Spain game, that game I was sitting right behind the Spanish bench, sitting in front of me was my idol, one of the players that made love the game, Iker Casillas and that was just PRICELESS.
Watching Chiellini score a goal with all the passion on his face, and then watching one of my heroes Gigi Buffon flying to stop the ball from getting to the net or feeling the electricity of the atmosphere under the rain while the national anthems were on or even the stadium’s reaction when De Rossi nutmegged Iniesta.
After all, for me, my favorite experience was on the 08/10/17. That’s the day that I will never forget,the day my national team qualified for the world cup for the first time in 28 years. It was Egypt vs Congo in Alexandria, Mo Salah scores the first goal in the 63rd minute and the whole country is on fire, not a single Egyptian is not watching the game the whole population is united for this very rare event and the score stays 1-0 until the 88th minute where Congo equalizes, words will never be enough to express our feelings and this time, heartbreak, disappointment, tears in the stadium and outside, i still remember being one of the people that cried, but our warriors and specially Mo didn’t want these tears to stay.
So by some movement with his hands he set the stadium on fire, the whole stadium was singing, the determination and will of the players and us to not lose was there ,we didn’t accept the fact that we will have to win our next game to get to the world cup, we didn’t accept the risk of us waiting another 4 years. So the whole team is in the final third of the pitch, one of our defenders (Ahmed Hegazy puts in a cross in the box), a tackle is made on Trezeguet and the referee blows the whistle for a penalty and I will try to describe the next part of the game but it will be hard, the whole stadium is screaming, my tears of sadness turn into tears of joy, tears of relief, with my flag around my back, I’m watching Salah stepping up to take the penalty and it’s the 94th minute, Momo bangs in the top right corner and I start screaming, and my tears won’t stop, I couldn’t believe it, we were going to finally participate in the World Cup and not just watch it.
And I think that’s the difference between supporting a team and your national team, when you are supporting your team it’s a team that you have chosen by your will or you grew up in an environment where this team was supported, but when its your National team, its more than what happens on the pitch, you are representing a whole country and sometimes a continent, there is a culture a tradition and millions of people behind, the 11 players are 11 soldiers and 11 warriors willing to make history.
This is why for me Football is “The Beautiful Game” and let me leave you with this Thierry Henry quote: “I eat football, I sleep football, I breathe football. I’m not mad, I’m passionate”,,,,
This is Mickey Jreissati first article with ISN, Mickey is also on 16 years of age but wants to write about sports as a career.