Maicon’s amazing strike against the enigmatic and redoubtable North Koreans was overshadowed by his celebration of it.
While many players run around with a “look at me” attitude, Maicon does four things to pay his respects to those who put him in a position to succeed:
First he kisses his wedding ring, because he knows that without the support of his wife he would not be who he is:
Then, amazingly, he cries. He denies it in his post-game interview but if you saw the goal live, you know it’s true:
Third, he goes to the bench and coaches to share the joy.
Last, the Man Upstairs. Players who rarely grace a church, mosque or temple all know they’ve prayed to affect the trajectory of a shot. After the ball has left your foot, what else is there to do?
“Rodou um filme na minha cabeça. Tudo o que eu passei valeu a pena. Fiz um gol em Copa do Mundo! Beijei a aliança como sinal de agradecimento a minha mulher e a família. Não chorei, mas quase”
“I saw a movie play in my head. Everything I’d gone through was worth it. I scored a goal in the World Cup. I kissed my ring to thank my wife and family. I didn’t cry, but almost.”
This game was very much in doubt up to the moment of this goal. Maicon was able to open a North Korean defense that was as closed as Kim Jong Il’s regime. In a World Cup filled with commercial interests and corporate balance sheets, his reaction to scoring provides us with a refreshing reminder of what the cup was meant to be: playing football, proudly representing your country and fulfilling a lifelong dream. Every kid that’s ever kicked a ball has scored this goal in his or her imagination. To actually achieve it, it’s a wonder that more players aren’t moved to tears.
When he then remembers the years of struggle he’s gone through, and shares his joy with everyone who has helped him along the way, he shows true star caliber.