For many players on the French capitol’s flagship soccer team, Paris Saint-Germain, last week’s terrorist attacks were viewed from afar, as they were off on international duty elsewhere. Now that it’s nearing time to return, at least two players have publicly expressed their wariness.
From the Independent, David Luiz and Edinson Cavani, both with their Brazilian and Uruguayan national teams, respectively, reportedly had doubts about returning to Paris. Here’s what Luiz said:
“I have my girlfriend and some family and friends in Paris,” Luiz said on Friday night after playing in Brazil’s 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with Argentina on Friday night after learning of the attacks. “They were all very sad and scared. I don’t know what I’m going to do and whether I will head back [to Paris].”
On account of his suspension for Brazil’s match tomorrow against Peru, Luiz was called back from international duty and has actually already returned to Paris today.
[Update 11:50: As this comment mentions, there appears to have been some misunderstanding on what exactly Luiz was getting at with his comments. As this Goal.com article describes it, Luiz was not expressing fear about returning to Paris and instead was saying literally he didn’t know if he was going to stay with the national team, since he couldn’t play with them because of his suspension, or if he was going to head back to Paris immediately to be with his family and friends there. On Twitter he made it clear that he ultimately returned to Paris at the behest of PSG. Sorry for the confusion.]
Cavani didn’t speak about this subject personally, but Uruguayan teammate Álvaro González relayed his countryman’s concerns:
Speaking to French newspaper L’Equipe ahead of Uruguay’s World Cup qualifier with Chile on Tuesday, Gonzalez said: “This is horrible, for football and for the city.
“They spoke of the fact that David Luiz would not return to Paris and Edinson said he would rather not have to go either.”
This calls to mind NBA players’ reluctance to participate with the USA basketball team in international tournaments following 9/11. It was a thing there for a while, but as players returned to the court without incident, everything eventually went back to normal.
It’s easy to say that attacks like those in Paris shouldn’t change our everyday lives—and it probably won’t much alter either of these two players’ situations when they get back to playing in Paris—but it’s nonetheless an understandably scary situation. Luiz and Cavani’s doubts speak to their perfectly natural fear; their inevitable returns to the field of play will speak louder.
Photo via AP