Football is not all about trophies, medals, and honours of sorts. Football is a refuge where humans are being humane as they are. After all, the teams, players, fans, and casual spectators are in it for the disparate display of compassion.
A Quora user asked, “What are some famous gestures of respect in football history?” One user answers some moments that will leave you teary-eyed.
Enjoy the most heartwarming moments of respect in football history.
1) A.S. Roma honouring their father-and-son fans who died after watching their game
Stefano and Cristiano had a blast watching their favourite football club against Bayern Munich in October 2014.
Riding a scooter on their way home, the father and son met with an accident that took their lives. Luana and Michelle, Stefano’s wife and daughter, respectively, were left behind.
The tragic news reached the players as they were given a shirt with the father and son’s picture printed on each, minutes before their next game.
Wearing the shirt as they head onto the pitch, the players honoured both Stefano and Cristiano and Luana and Michelle who were in the audience and shared with the latter’s pain.
2) Oliver Kahn consoling Santiago Cañizares who was crying profusely after the match
In a 2001 Champions League Finals game between Bayern Munich and Valencia, Cañizares was seen crying on the pitch right after the game. But it wasn’t because of the club’s lost or the fact that they lost for two consecutive finals matches.
He learned during half-time that his mother had died. He continued playing only to broke down to tears right after the match.
Instead of celebrating his team’s victory, Kahn, Bayern’s then captain, went over to Cañizares to console him. Kahn lent his shoulder for Cañizares to cry on.
3) Carles Puyol calling Ronaldhino for a team photo a year after leaving Barcelona
Ronaldhino left the Blaugrana club in 2008, signing up with A.C. Milan.
In 2009, during a preseason match in honour of Barcelona’s founder Joan Gamper, Puyol invited Ronaldhino over for a team photo. It signalled that the players still consider him as part of the Barca family.
Puyol’s sportsmanship was a legend. In 2005, Sergio Ballesteros, Mallorca’s defender, slapped as he was sent out of the pitch for a rash challenge. Ronaldhino saw this and strongly reacted by aiming at Ballesteros.
Puyol pushed him back, stopping Ronaldhino purposefully who was about to attack Ballesteros because of what he did.
4) Carles Puyol removing his armband and putting it on Eric Abidal
Abidal wasn’t performing well—he had liver cancer. Barcelona also decided that his 2012-ending contract won’t be extended because of health issues.
In May 2011, Puyol had another touching moment and this time involving Abidal when the team won their fourth Champions League Finals match against Manchester United.
Abidal was able to play the full 90 minutes of the game. To celebrate his recovery, Puyol removed his armband and put it on Abidal so he could lift the trophy first amidst an 85,000-packed Wembley Stadium.
Abidal was diagnosed with a tumour in March 2011 and underwent surgery two days after.
During the round-of-16 matches, football players wore t-shirts saying “Animo Abidal!” (Get well Abidal!). The message was also displayed in the scoreboard.
On March 19, 2011, the fans at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium clapped for 22 minutes in his honour. It was his jersey number.
There are millions of heartwarming moments in football. For you, which is the most touching? Let us know.