I’m on my way on holiday today, but I felt that I could not go away without writing a letter to you. Obviously I don’t know you personally, even if I’ve seen you many, many times on the TV. So this is my public goodbye to you written here on my blog Pondering Calcio.
Five years ago you came to us to play. When I write ”us” I don’t just mean the city of Naples of the supporters in Campagnia. We are the world wide community of Napoli fans all over the planet. Personally I heard your name for the first time when a member of a forum I read back in the days wrote that Napoli were interested in Lynet – the Danish word for The Lightning. I had no idea who you were, while I saw some hazy clips from your career in Argentina. It looked promising and it turned out to be even better. As one of very few players you were able to fully live up to the fire burning within us. Napoli and you were the perfect match.
You came to Napoli as a happy boy and what I will always admire in you is how you’re also leaving us as a happy boy. In the meantime the happy boy has turned from a promising prospect into a proven world class player. It has been a pleasure following you and see how you’ve turned more and more mature and more and more powerful. The little, fast guy with the long hair and the mazy runs has turned into a grown, strong man with bigger muscles and bigger tattoos – but one thing you’ve never lost is your smile lighting up the pitch.
Where other players, also some of your now former team mates, seem tense and stressed under pressure you just seem to enjoy life even more. You’re shoulders and arms dangle like you were bathing at Mar del Plata and your smile sparks as if you were an actor winning the Palme D’or in Cannes. Your relaxed attitude however betrays the hard labour you put in for the team. Relentlessly you have tormented opponent defenders as you’ve run without end to help your team to victory. While you haven’t scored as many goals as we were some who hoped you have won the hearts of each and everyone of us.
Dear Pocho. You’re classy, smiling and relaxed. You deserve to be able to live the life of your dreams. If your dreams include the chance to walk the street and to go out at night, I understand that you leave. For that is one thing that Napoli cannot give you. I might be from the cold and more reserved Denmark, but my Neapolitan brothers and sisters are passionate people who embrace their heroes mentally – and physically. It sounds like a paradox but I think that your open and laid back style of life is more suited for Paris, where you are now going. The French capital with the correct, cool and a little distanced attitude towards strangers might be just what you need to thrive.
To be able to walk on the street should be the right of everyone and I regret that the passion of the people in Napoli makes life hard and isolated for the players they adore. In Paris people don’t care nearly as much about football as in Naples. You can walk for days in the city without noticing that there is a club called PSG. It’s a place where uncommon people like you can live normal lives like mine. I’m sure you’ll love Paris. I did when I lived there.
So Pocho. You have given much to Napoli over the last five years. And Napoli has given a lot to you. I won’t mention a single game and I won’t forget a single game. Because you’ve been outstanding in them all. Sometimes your play was not the best, but you always fought on and you always gave SSC Napoli an identity. You were a star on the pitch and the supporters, who are more the club than any player will ever be, will never forget you.
Goodbye Pocho – my friend.
Photo by Vincent Teeuwen