I'm an arteeest, baby

Yesterday evening Vincent Candela bid his farewell to football, and was celebrated by 30000 fans and friends and team mates with somewhat famous names; Zidane, Blanc, Djorkaeff, Delvecchio, Tommasi, Totti. You might have heard of them before, at least some of them. It was a magical night in the company of old friends; I laughed at Candela collapsing exhausted after making an offensive run and setting up Montella for a goal, I got goosebumps when I saw Damiano Tommasi just pass a ball, I was taken back in time when I heard Carlo Zampa make the introductions over the PA system once again.

I have only good memories of Candela. Both the player, and the man off it; the player was a classy wing back ("I didn't have the feet of a number 10; it's better to be a great wing back than a normal fantasista"). The man off the pitch always struck me as a good humored connousieur of life, who would not be fundamentally opposed staying up all night drinking red wine and laughing. He was a precursor, of sorts, to Phillipe Mexès, in that he also adopted the Roman way of life completely, which Mexès famously have done as well since. I recall reading about Candela telling about the first time he really saw and discovered Rome; on the back of a motorino that Francesco Totti was driving, as the two good friends went on a nightly expedition.

In an interview ahead of the game this week he was asked about his role in the French team that was so successful around the millenium change. His response, about his competitor for a starting place, Lizarazu: "He was a working man of football, I was an artist."

Just the way I want to remember him.

Il Messaggero article about the game >>

Youtube clip of Totti's and Candela's entrances

Youtube clip of the goals >>

Post game interviews >>