Date: 3rd September 2011 at 4:30pm
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International duties call up on the bravest of players to defend their country. The battle is fought with a round sphere rather than a gun. Although boots are required for both types of battle, its less than likely that any country’ army would try to camouflage their soldiers in a pair of Nike Mercurial Vapors, with the exception of CR7’s Safari edition.
No helmets are required, unless you’re one of the triplets in the Cech family, and your skull is about as frail as Arsenal’s back four.

International duty is a time of unity. Time of honor. Time to garner comparisons to the past greats. The position and/or status you have at your club may mean little as what’s going through Lady Gaga’s mind when she wears enough meat to be killed by Mad Cow Disease. Though international fixtures is a time for all these things mentioned, I feel that the value of professionalism is often overlooked.

For example, imagine you are a long haired Spaniard named Sergio Ramos. You change into your training gear, lace your boots tight as you meet the rest of the team out on the training ground. Swinging your arms back and forth as you
lightly warm up, you notice a cheeky little fellow with a patch of hair under his lip. None other than Spain’s goal record-breaking striker, David Villa.

You should feel a little bulge in your chest, grip on your fist, perhaps a bit of clench in your teeth. It’s only natural. Countless “El Classico” derby’s between Read Madrid and Barcelona can bring the worst out of you.What’s worse, the two international team-mates have been seen in physical altercation involving each other completely disregarding the origin of citizenship they share together.

So the question is, how do they deal with this problem? Does it go away in the shower room after their tense altercation? Do they wash away the tension? You can imagine the winner’s shower room to look like a funny Old Spice commercial, while the quiet and dead atmosphere of the loser’s side may seem like a prison shower after lock down.

Or maybe Villa decides to be the bigger man by calling Ramos after the match, and offering to mediate the situation by letting bygones be bygones. Only for Ramos to find out after receiving his phone bill, that Villa called collect. (ha-ha).
It’s should only be a matter of time until Ramos chases Villa around with a Mach 3 razor blade in one hand, the Copa Del Rey in another, while Villa’s constant provoking forces Ramos to drop the first domestic cup won since 1993.

As a supporter and admirer of the global game we call football, I often find myself forgetting how much professionalism it takes from the players to overlook these scuffles and altercations. Sure, leave your work at home. Maybe club duties are considered “work”, while country call-ups are considered “home”. But it’s hard to imagine the 9-10 months you spend with your club won’t cause confusion as to where your loyalties lie.

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