9/02/2008

Rusic's Sunday

An article today in Gazeta Sporturilor, written by Mihai MateaƟ and Adrian Bucur, reports on the Sunday of Dejan Rusic. I took the liberty to translate it for you guys, as I thought it was a nice read. Enjoy!

"The Matador's Day"

Dejan Rusic started this season on the bench. After the disaster against Medias (1-5), in the very next match, the Slovenian was sent on the pitch by Mr. Uhrin to make a difference. Since then, he hasn’t dropped out of the first eleven and the team hasn’t lost, whether the opponent was Otopeni, Buzau or Rapid. Rusic scored in every one of these matches [...]. Yesterday, the striker accepted the initiative of Gazeta Sporturilor to tell us, in his words, how Sunday unfolded, one of the most important days of his life.

8.30 – Wake up call
I remember I was woken up by “Magione”, one of our physios and I was upset, because I’d wanted to sleep more. As a result, I didn’t even feel like eating at breakfast and, so I only had a bit of yoghurt and muesli. At about 9.30 I stayed behind with Alexa and Sreten [Sretenovic]. We kept telling each other that we have to win. I told Sreten to focus. “I know you can do better. You played perfectly in the pre-season friendlies. Have more confidence in yourself!” I told him. He thanked me and said that I will score.

11.30 – Training
Dusan Uhrin called us at the stadium for a light training session. I only recall that I was very sleepy and I was thinking that I had to warm up every bit of muscle in my body while running with my eyes closed. I didn’t want to risk another injury; last year’s two moth long one was enough. After an hour, at the tactical session, I knew already that I would play, but I wasn’t sure of the system in which the manager would place us. At the end, Dusan repeated almost obsessively “Fight for the city! Fight for the fans!”. His words were going to stick with me for the whole day.

14.00 – Rest
I left for lunch. Pasta and chicken. But all I wanted was to go to bed. As soon as I got in my room I fell asleep. Unfortunately, only for one hour. I woke up and Bayern’s match was on TV. I “borrowed” some moves from Toni and Klose and decided to use them against Rapid. It’s funny when you watch a match only thinking of trying to learn something from the players. I fell asleep again, dreaming I would score like Toni against Rapid and then jump on the fence, celebrating with the fans. When I woke up I had a message from Petra, my girlfriend: “I love you, I have faith in you. Make me proud today!”

20.00 – Locker Room
I got dressed and left for the stadium. In the team bus I stayed with my forehead glued to the window. I saw how people were flowing from all streets and alleys towards the stadium, a sea of people dressed in violet. I realized once again how important the match was for the whole city and, instantaneously, I remembered what Uhrin told us: “Fight! For the fans, for the city!”. At 21.00 we went out to check on the pitch. The fans burst into cheers. I looked around. They were all there. It was electrifying. Once we were back in the locker room, I noticed that Uhrin’s afternoon message was written on the game board: “Fight! For the city and the colours!”. We sat around in a circle, covering each other’s hands and I yelled together with the guys as loudly as I could: “Fight, fight, fight! We’ll destroy them!”. Before going out, I took Sreten aside again: foul your direct opponent roughly the first chance you get. Be careful though not to get booked. If you take him hard, he’ll know to be afraid of you. I’m telling you out of my own experience.” Well, considering what Sreten looks like, I don’t think it was hard for him to instil fear anyway.

21.45 – The Match
The match started. I had my first chance as well. The ball came and I sent a header towards goal, I didn’t expect him to save it. I looked at Pardo and said in Slovenian: “No problem. We’ll meet again later”. I was sure I’d score. We controlled the first half, we were all over them. I didn’t even realize how quickly it went by. I hate half-time! I just wanted to go back on the pitch as quickly as possible. I don’t even remember what Uhrin told us, all I was thinking about is what he had told us that afternoon. That was enough for me. Back on the pitch. Rapid is playing better. They’re dominating the match. Sreten sent off! I was stunned. I was sure we’d win and now I was reliving the match at Buzau, when we all had to defend in the dying minutes. I told myself: “If we win in 10, we’re heros!”

23.34 – The Goal
The ball came towards me from the corner kick. I was shouting aloud at Pardo: “Drop it, drop it!”. He dropped it. I didn’t even wince. I set my foot to the ball and in the next second I went crazy, I swear! I’d done it! My first thought was to run to the fans, like in my dream. I wanted to run around the stadium, thank everyone. But I was sure I’de be sent off. Maybe if I was Usain Bolt I’d have gotten away with it. I’d have stayed there on the fence all night long. It was magnificent! It was our night. How could we lose with such fans behind us? It was over! We’d won. “Ti-mi-soa-ra! Ti-mi-soa-ra!”. Mass madness. Dinner followed. I looked all night for a restaurant, but all were closed. I gave up and went to the hotel with my agents. There, all I got was a bit of cheese. Was that all I deserved?

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