Anyone who has had the good fortune to be born in the 80’s grew up with the myth of Japanese animated cartoon “Holly and Benji”.
The goalkeeper and the number 10, every afternoon, with their football prowess, were the dream of hundreds of children.
Never mind that the playing field was along hundreds of yards, that matches would last for hours and that players jumped on posts and crossbars to score.
They took away the breath of every child.
But today’s children who live in London, are even more lucky because they have a chance to dream with those two stars every week.
Yes, because Juan Mata and Petr Cech are the embodiment of those two animated characters of the 80’s.
Two stars that, even this Sunday, have helped to make the difference on the pitch.
But who are really Petr Cech and Juan Mata?
What characterizes the number 1 is definitely a protective helmet with which he is forced to play by the terrible accidentseven years ago during the match against Reading.
He came out from the posts to catch the ball and the opponent striker Hunt failing to avoid the kneed very violent, causing a fracture to his skull.
He was taken to hospital where the doctors have applied a steel plate in his skull and was saved by a miracle.
It seems that this object, as well as Superman’s cape, has given to him special powers.
Since then Cech has become one of the best goalkeepers in the world and, this year, if Chelsea can fight for the Champions League places in the table, they must surely it to the magical performance of their number 1.
But, just like Superman, Petr Cech has an extraordinary acute hearing to make it almost invincible.
That is his secret.
The special protection in fact has the power to merge the sounds and amplify them so, as he explained during an interview a few years ago to Chelsea TV, “…every match I can hear the cheering of the fans as if they were right there on the field together with me. Charging who can give you such a thing is indescribable. Course, the first few times it was all so strange, but now that I’m used to, I could not playwithout it.”
To date, however, no striker is still able to find “kryptonite” to weaken Petr Cech.
And what can be said of the number 10 which yesterday turned a quarter of a century?
He has no Superhero’s powers and he doesn’t feel himself as Hulk like his mate Eden Hazard, nor as an Elf like Marko Marin, or Robin as Paolo Ferreira or Zorro like Oscar … simply Juan Mata.
But, increasingly, his name is associated with the noun Magician.
Because since there is football, the number 10 is the creative playmaker, the illusionist who paints masterpieces, who take away the breath of children with its light and perfect touch and … with his magic.
Shy and reserved, sweet and helpful, Juan Mata is far from the prototype of the ignorant player.
In his days off he loves visiting London’s museums, in particularly the Tate Modern and the Natural Sciences Museum, but there is no museum in London that will not be visited at least once.
Cinema, theater and musicals occupy his free evenings, while the books by Haruki Murakami are his companions for the evenings in the training camp.
Like all boys, especially while traveling, his favorite companion is music.
In his playlist there are songs like Creep by Radiohead, Radioactive by Imagine Dragons, Do not look back in to the sun by The Libertines, …
When it’s time to leave is always the one with the suitcase less bulky but he and his bath clutch bag are inseparable.
After almost 3 years, the kitchen of his house is like new thanks to the supplies that arrived on time from home by his mum.
When these become scarce, however, he loves to discover the places with the best kitchens in London.
For us, guys who grew up in the 80s’, Holly and Benji have taught us to fight for our dreams while respecting important values such as loyalty, friendship and sportsmanship.
And these are the same values that these two simple starts, along with many others, are teaching to the new generation of children.