Monday, October 19, 2009

Sochaux and Milan: A Tale of Two Clubs

AC Milan are one of the most storied sides in Europe, but they could take a lesson in class from mid-table French side Sochaux. The tragic car accident involving rising US star Charlie Davies and the awful injury to defender Oguchi Onyewu during last week's World Cup qualifier revealed the true colors of the two players' domestic sides.

While a fatal car accident put Davies' promising career in jeopardy in the early morning hours last Tuesday, there was concern from France for Davies as a man, not as an individual on a roster. Washington Post soccer writer Steven Goff had the reaction from Sochaux's president Alexandre Lacombe: "We are all in shock. The American federation was exemplary and informed us of all the events. Regrettably, his dream of South Africa has gone away and his career might be in danger. All our thoughts at FC Sochaux are with Charlie." Beyond the thoughts from the team's boss, photos from Sochaux's 2-0 upset of Lyon Saturday show that Charlie was an inspiration to his teammates and fans in victory.

Onyewu tore his patellar tendon on a non-contact play late in the 2-2 draw against Costa Rica. Rather than expressing sympathy for their player, less than 24 hours after his injury, Milan brass were demanding financial reparations. Never mind the fact that Onyewu has barely seen the pitch at the San Siro, Milan's Adriano Galliani wasn't worried about losing a defender as much as he was making a shameful demand for money. It's not the first time an AC Milan player has played for his national side and probably not the first time one has been injured in those matches. The fact that the Rossoneri would act in such a manner is as absurd as it is insulting. They'd do well to follow the lead set by Sochaux.

And on a personal note, let me add my best wishes to Charlie and Oguchi for speedy recoveries. While Guch's situation is sad, Charlie needs our thoughts and prayers most of all. Get well soon, Charlie!

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