Former Brazilian football player, new coach Fenerbahce’s legendary football player Alex de Souza wrote to The Players Tribune about his career. While reacting to the words “Alex does not run. Alexotan” said about him, he shared the incident he experienced with a fanatic fan of Galatasaray. Referring to the Fenerbahçe-Galatasaray derby in the news compiled by Sporx, the Brazilian star mentioned his dialogue with Lefter Küçükandonyadis.
“NOT BECAUSE IT GIVES REGRET OR PAIN”
“In my 20-year career as a football player, I was able to play more than 1000 matches and score 423 goals. However, it is necessary to talk about the troublesome processes experienced while achieving these. It is not because of regret or pain. However, people can realize some things more easily as they get older.
“NOW I’M TELLING THE CHILDREN”
Today I am 44 years old and I am the coach of the Sao Paulo U-20 team. My job is to train, train, guide and talk to the kids who have just hit the ball on the street topless and smiling in shorts. Even though it is painful for me to talk to them, the sport like football, which makes us dream sweetly and provides success and wealth, can sometimes bring unpleasantness along with it, but I still do it.
“WHO CAN YOU TALK TO? WALL IT!”
For example, when you have just made a new start and moved to a big city by yourself.. Who can you talk to about these feelings when everything is going bad in training or a game one day and you come to the facilities exhausted? with the wall. At 44, you can speak comfortably. At 18 you intend to give up everything. Football players are not trained for such situations.
“OUR HOUSE WAS ON WOOD, THE TOILET IS IN THE GARDEN”
When I was little with my father, when I was hitting the ball or when I was going to see my aunts playing in a women’s team in a truck, I knew about this too. We used to live in Jardim Campo Alto. A district of Curitiba. Our house was made of wood, our toilet was in our garden. I was 10 years old when I first met a normal toilet. What I knew before was a latrine my father emptied when it was full.
“TAKE THIS CHILD FROM HERE!”
The first time I felt I was going to be a church football player was during a church bazaar. They were playing the game of passing the ball through the mouth of a clown, which was wide enough for a ball to pass easily. There was a chicken dinner award for Başaran. . I managed to get the ball through the clown’s mouth on my first try. I was successful again on my second try. Third… the third time, I managed to get the ball into the clown’s mouth. After the sixth or seventh ball I put through the clown’s mouth, the man standing at the head of the game came and said, “Get this kid out of here, I forbid him from participating in this game.”
“ALEX DOES NOT RUN, ALEXOTAN”
Over the years I’ve heard the story “Ahhh Alex isn’t running. Alexotan”. No one asked me how I felt when I heard these. I was running the ball. We were winning the games and everyone was very happy. But when the match was lost, this joke took an uncomfortable form. And when he was only 17… It was a very aggressive behavior. It was Zinho from Palmeiras who raised a finger at me and said, “You won’t play if you keep playing like this”. I got very angry, I argued and even got into a fight. But I realized right after. I had to change the way I played because the level was high in Palmeiras. So I changed. But this “Ahh Alex is not running, Alexotan” that I mentioned turned into “Ahh Alex was not running, Alexotan” when I made the jubilee. It still goes on, it still feels heavy. I am a shy and introverted person. And this feature of mine was causing these bad feelings from the outside to have a much heavier effect on me.
WORLD CUP REGRET
I had the bad feeling of not being able to play in a world cup (especially the 2002 World Cup). Having won the Libertadores trophy with Palmeiras, playing all the qualifying matches leading up to the World Cup…
“FENERBAHÇE! I CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE”
Then there was another corner that I had to turn to. But this time, not with disappointments. On the contrary, Turkey was waiting for me. I could not have imagined that the years I lived in Fenerbahçe would be the craziest years. It’s really hard to put into words. But I will try…
“NOTHING CAN ERASE MY LOVE FOR THE TURKISH PEOPLE”
I think football in Turkey is unique and I’m sure it’s like nothing else. Everyone is passionate about their club. Yes, a stronger passion than Brazil. But with a very fundamental difference… Everyone whistles the opponent, the opponent whistles the player. But it seems like there is a limit and it is not crossed. I have always been treated well by the supporters of Galatasaray, Beşiktaş, Trabzonspor and Bursaspor. At the airport, the opposing team fans who saw me on the street came and had a nice conversation with me. That’s why nothing can erase my love for the Turkish people. It was an unforgettable experience for me…
“A GALATASARAY HUGGED ME! MADNESS”
I remember the people who surrounded my house the day I left the club. I do not forget the people who jumped off the walls, entered the garden of the house, came from miles away to thank for everything and shake my hand. During one of these vigils, which lasted almost a week, while I was sitting at home with my family, the doorbell rang. A huge one came up to me. I was looking for this person from somewhere, but at that moment I couldn’t find where he was. He was a Galatasaray fanatic who had been in prison before.
So what would I do now?
I opened the door and the man said to me: Hello, can you sign some jerseys for me and take a picture with me?
Me: Sure, come in.
— Alex, you didn’t make us suffer less. But I admire and respect you.
He hugged me, thanked me and left. Frenzy!
GALATASARAY DERBY Confession
Competition is big there. Fenerbahce x Galatasaray matches are like wars. You may be the league champion, but if you lose to your opponent, it’s not exactly a championship. If neither of them became champions, the whole conversation is about finishing the league above the other. I’ve had these to a great extent.
“WE CAN ELIMATE CHELSEA”
8 full seasons. I experienced the most satisfying emotions of my life as I became champion, top scorer and passed the group stage of the Champions League. We played against Chelsea in the Quarterfinals and we could hardly go further. We won indoors and lost 2-0 in London. It was one of those nights that put everything aside and reminded once again how great a sport football is…
“LEFTER SAID, MY SCULPTURE WAS MADE”
They were very good memories. Once, we went to have lunch with Lefter, the greatest player in Fenerbahçe history. He was in his 80’s. “If I have a statue, Alex must have it too,” he hung out during the conversation. The statue was also made.
“THE 80 MILLION COUNTRY SAY ME”
One time, a fan named Murat, who lost his foot while serving in the military, had to change his prosthesis model for a new prosthesis. It required technology and detailed study. Doctors ask him to choose the model of someone’s foot, and he says he wants my feet from the country of 80 million. Even today, when we talk, he tells me that he is also “de Souza” now.
“I LEARNED TO ENJOY IN TURKEY”
After all these experiences, what was left to me was that the recycling in Cruzeiro turned into a life experience in Turkey. I learned to enjoy my work there and that it is always possible to work in a new environment in football. This point is an important detail for young people who are building their future. I like to remember the happy moments in my career. Just like the years I lived when I was a Fenerbahçe player in Istanbul.