Players don’t always enjoy the fondest of rapports on the pitch. The game has been witness to bitter fights as well as strikingly visual and sometimes violent encounters between players, often due to trivial reasons.
But what strikes most pathos is when such a feud occurs between two former comrades, who might have enjoyed a good relationship earlier.
Such is definitely the case with Robin Van Persie and a former Gunner.
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The striker, who now plays with Fenerbahçe, had a strong encounter with Oguzhan Ozyakup of Besiktas during the quarter-final of the Turkish Cup last year.
The two played alongside each other for four years during Van Persie’s memorable stint with Arsenal, and the Dutchman was believed to be a mentor figure in Ozyakup’s life, as he was just an academy graduate.
Perhaps it was the electric and tense derby atmosphere of the fixture, as the duo were far from their merry days in the Premier League, and were seen openly sparring and clashing heads during the match.
In fact, the theatrics got so bad that when Van Persie finally found the decisive winner for his side, he was quick to look for Ozyakup and perform a provocative knee slide right at the foot of the younger player. The open gesture wasn’t missed by the crowd.
Post-match, the Besiktas star revealed: “I was very good friends with a certain player on the field. That changed today. Sometimes you see the real face of a footballer on the field.”
And as per Daily Star, their feud still continues till date, with the 25-year-old claiming: “We still do not talk, usually players make up after games but this was different. Maybe we will make up one day but it will not be the same as before. I do not really want to talk about this, to be honest. I do not think I was in the wrong. If anything I was wrong to show Robin as much respect as I did.”
The spectacle is certainly painful to watch, and supporters will eagerly hope that the two are able to put their differences aside and recall that football too, is a gentleman’s game.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.