That morning sleep was great. Amar had come in some time in the morning. I don’t quite recall when and how, but his phone is definitely on my register. Then Andrey woke up like 15 minutes before he had to leave and dressed up, said good bye and left to work. ( If only I could do the same about getting to class). Then it was time to start writing, like a lot. I was 3 days behind and I kept writing till I finished as much as I possible could. By that time it was noon and came what I would say would be the most lack-lustre fixture I have in my collection. Portugal vs Morocco. Again I would like to reiterate that the perception that European teams have the most passionate fans is a lie. I know it is a blunt statement. But if you have seen the things I have seen here. Where entire families, normal people like you and me, save up and come to watch the games. From continents which are so much further from Europe. Where there isn’t a train to Moscow from almost anywhere in Western Europe. Where the Euro and Dollar doesn’t make u feel rich.You would appreciate the passion the latin Americans, the Arabs and to a lesser extent the Asians have. I was shocked at first, but its been 8 days and I haven’t met even 1 English fan. Not even one. All the dudes wearing the white have been Russians. Bollocks.
So when it was time for the Portugal vs Morocco game, I was konjam anticipating a tame game where both set of supporters would not be upto the very high bar set by the hombres. ( Which has been my best experience so far.) But I was proved wrong as Morocco fans, who called in backup from Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, and any halal eating nation they could find.
There were a few Portuguese fans, but they were too few and far between to have any impact. But you would find a lot of Ronaldo fans from across the world with Real Madrid, United and Portugal kits all worshipping the legend. I wore a United kit. ( For old times sake.)
On the metro and towards Luzhniki, there wasn’t a lot of ruckus happening like yesterday. But I am going to watch fucking CRISTIANO RONALDO. Who for me, as a biased Manchester United fan, is the best player ever to grace the game. I go in and find my seat. It was more neutral. A lot of Morocco fans, a couple of Portuguese and a lot of Russians. Plus the majority was people like myself who were there to enjoy a game of football. I get my bud and waited a little bit for kickoff. I was joined by two dudes. One a Mexican yank and the other a proper yak. Gil and Ross. We bonded over Mexico and made plans to meet in Saint Petes when we are going there.
Then kickoff. Let me tell you something about Cristiano Ronaldo. The fucker is huge. Like fucking gigantic. You can spot him from the moon. He is so build and his shoulders are so fucking large. ( More maybe his kits a little too tight), but I don’t know. He looks different from all the other players who were playing there, I don’t know why.
I spot an India fan ( yaaay, in a fucking cricket jersey, boooo)
And one Morocco fan dressed up as spider man. It was nuts.
The goal came very early, a cross headed in by Ronaldo and he did the superhero landing celebration. We were killing it, it super nice to see him score( No pressure Messi). Then the game was played where Morocco kept creating chances and somehow they just couldn’t put it in the back of the net. In this world cup, all the teams who have won based on one thing only. How clinical they are in front of goal. Cause there are no shitty teams anymore. All teams are well drilled to defend and execute the game plan perfectly( Maybe not Argentine) That makes it difficult for the big teams to do something. The game was pretty much not too exciting from there, with Morocco getting the odd chance, which they would squander and let Portugal break. When the game was over I left back to Andrey’s.
So Andrey did something really cool. He emailed all the people in Decathlon Moscow that 2 dudes from Decathlon India were in Moscow to watch the world cup and they need a place to crash for the night. And Nabaji country head was kind enough to host us. NABAJI is Decathlon’s swimming brand and when I say country head, I mean country head. She takes care of whole of Russia. Her name is Julia and we are yet to meet her at this point of time. So I head back to Andrey’s, Amar comes a little while later and then we pack up unicorn and the falcon and we are on our way to North Moscow, that is where her home is. It took us a lot longer than we anticipated.( Something which we should have taken more exactly then)
So finally we reach her station and walk up towards the subway. And spotting two indian guys carrying a big a big bag with a cycle in it isn’t difficult. Here we met Julia. With a wide smile that stretches from Kaliningrad to Eklaterinberg. ( Check that map if you don’t know what I mean.) She spoke the best English of all the Russians we had met so far. She was from Samara. She guided us into her apartment complex. It was huge and finding out way out was going to be an issue, we were sure of that. We were welcomed into the most coolest apartment we had seen. ( After seeing Russian apartment homes, I am starting t think we in India waste a lot of space and don’t get creative enough when it comes to decorating an apartment.) It was so pretty. You could feel the youth in the apartment. She introduced us to her roommate, ( Toniya). She worked as a journalist for a Russian newspaper. Julia was more than kind to offer us everything in her kitchen to eat. We were overwhelmed and ate just enough to get a good nights sleep. She had WIFI, so I spend a lot of time in front of the screen ,writing.
And it is always makes me wonder, what would this world have become if it hadn’t been for kindness. From our case, I can say, we would have been proper fucked.