OLYPMIQUE LYONNAIS, LUC

Olympique Lyonnais. Luc. Fort / St. Catherine, Montreal, 2013

Why Lyon?, I asked.

” I love the feel of the team. My family originates from that part of France.”

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and St. Catherine street was packed with people when out of the crowd emerged Luc. He appeared surprised and amused that someone would want to photograph him just because he wears a soccer jersey. Quite a few times during our short exchange he would look at his companion, laugh and say :” Très drôle.” It turns out Luc is a professional photographer, working mostly in fashion, commercial domain. After I snapped a few photos of him he asked me if I always “shoot with natural light” – an awkward moment when two photographers meet for the first time.

As we parted, Luc and his companion continued their stroll down the street and I could hear them chuckle: “Très drôle, très drôle.”

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MILAN, SOE

Soe Phuket June 19, 2013

Soe. Milan. Phuket, Thailand, 2013

Why Milan?, I asked.

“I like it because of that striker. I forgot his name.”

No wonder he can’t remember the striker’s name. Last time I’ve been drinking what Soe is drinking on a hot and humid summer day I had serious difficulties recalling anything. Thai rice whiskey, although less than 30 degree strong is a dangerous thing. The myth, truthless as only a myth can be, says this drink contains opium and poison.

Or perhaps Soe just doesn’t care and wants me to go away so he and his friend Zoe (Argentina shirt, “because of Messi”) can continue loiter in the shade of a scrappy shop enjoying a little drink after another heavy day at work.

Far away from their homeland Myanmar, these gentlemen live hard lives of fishermen on Thailand’s island of Phuket, better known as a tourist’s heaven. I assume there is not much beside football and Thai whiskey that matter to them at this point. However, they both agreed to pose for a picture. Cheers!

Soe Zoe June 19, 2013

Fishermen in the shade.


ROMA, DARIO

Roma. Dario. Bangkok, Thailand, 2013 © Damir Šagolj

“Why Roma?”, I asked.

 “Gialla com er sole, rosso come er come mio! Chi tifa Roma non perde mai.” (Yellow like the sun, red as my heart! Who supports Roma never loses.)

When recently Lazio beat Roma (Senad Lulic, 71min) in the finals of the Italian cup, my natural reaction was to immediately send Dario a teasing text message saying that such a tragedy happens only because you leave your Bosnian on the bench (wunderkind Pjanic) while the other team’s double Bosnian trouble is at their bests (Lulic plus coach Petkovic). After dramatic minutes of silence (maybe it was too much, too soon?) his reply unveiled a serious diagnosis similar to the Stockholm syndrome – he said that the Lazio coach transformed a group of assholes into lions while Roma players were %#*$^*(@.

Just as it should be, I’m not sure where Dario’s great love for Roma stops and where the disregard (hate?) towards Lazio begins. However, his southern mentality that gets berserk especially when we talk about football makes my years away from home less painful. He is my best friend in Bangkok, where we both live, and yes he really wears his Roma shirt like it is Caesar’s best toga.


ARSENAL, DAMIR

This is a fantastic news for all of you Footballists fans:

Damir Šagolj, a friend, and a reporter who works for Reuters news agency and is currently based in Bangkok, Thailand, joins Footballists and will be our regular contributor. Here is his first post. Enjoy!

Damir June 15, 2013

Arsenal. Damir. Bangkok, Thailand, 2013, photo by Dario Pignatelli

Why Arsenal? I asked myself.

“Because Samir brought me this shirt.”

Indeed, although it is bit awkward for one displaced Bosnian (Samir, Lodon) visiting another even more displaced (Damir, Bangkok) to have a foreign team’s shirt as the present – this one worked very well and I liked it from the first moment.

Despite supporting a wrong team back home in Sarajevo – almost an inexcusable blunder – Samir is one of my dearest friends and I would be happy if he had brought me any other shirt. Liverpool let’s say or, God forbid, Chelsea. But, he chooses the Arsenal and even had their shop at Emirates made a shirt with my name on it.

For years now, Samir has his seat just above one of the corner flags at Arsenal stadium and I get my face into the screen trying to see him every time camera stops there. I started following and cheering for Arsenal because of Samir and even that little prick RVP didn’t make me change my mind.

However, I know one day Samir and Damir will take these shirts off and put back red and blue of their Sarajevo teams, the only ones that really matter. But, for now let it be Arsenal.

Damir Samir

Damir & Samir, Bangkok, Thailand, 2013

Ps… this is my first post for footballists.com, one of the coolest things that exist on the Internet. I could have put my two sizes too small Zeljo shirt for it, but it should be no surprise really why I choose to have Samir mentioned in my introduction – both him and Veba, the author of this genial blog, are very similar in what they do, and how they do it. Quiet and not-pretentious and good and so smooth that all of the others, me included, should learn a big lesson from these fine gentlemen.

I live and travel mostly in Asia so I hope to bring little bit of oriental spice to the Footballists. It is my honor and commitment to be a part of it.


CORINTHIANS, KIM

Corinthians. Kim. De la Gauchetière Ouest/Coté, Montreal, 2013

Why Timão? I asked.

“When I was a kid I looked at all the symbols and colors of different Sao Paolo clubs and I liked Corinthians’ best.”

And, as he added later, a few family members helped with that decision. In Sao Paolo, it could be difficult to choose with PalmeirasSão PauloSantos, Corinthians and probably a few other clubs existing in the same city. Kim was 5 years old when his family moved to Montreal. He works as audio/video technician in a CEGEP in Montreal. Even though Ronaldo (the original one, not the hairstyle one) was his favorite player he thinks Zidane was the best ever. I’m sure many would agree.


BARCELONA, ZAKARIA

Barcelona. Zakaria. Circle/Queen Mary, Montreal, 2013

Why Barca? I asked.

“When you’re watching Barca play you know you’re watching real football.”

Just like Seif, who I met the same day, Zakaria comes from Algeria and is a big Barcelona fan. The encounter was brief just like the most of them, and we didn’t get to talk much, but Zakaria was all smiles and sometimes that’s all it matters.


Brazil, Alex

Brazil. Alex. Palais des congrès, Montreal, 2013

Why Brazil? I asked.

“I bought it on e-bay. You see, it’s half black and half white, anti-racism jersey.”

I met Alex at the Mondial de la bière where he was working. I have a soft spot for people going to work in a soccer shirt. And this is not your ordinary jersey but a special Anti-Racism edition. Alex bought the one with Pelé’s name on the back. He has one with Maradona’s as well. He doesn’t follow soccer much but he ‘likes sports in general’. He told me: ‘If you want to have two soccer jerseys, what’s better than to have Pelé and Maradona.’ He does modelling and he is also an artist. As he was showing me some of his images on his phone he made an interesting observation: ‘I have these weird ideas, so I photograph them, it’s much easier than writing about them.’ His favourite colour is pink.

If I only new, back in October when I met Pelé, that I will meet Alex, I would get something signed for him.

With Pelé and some friends, New York City, 2012