first team / OL 1-1 Steaua Bucharest

The return of captain Claudio Caçapa

Published on the 06 December 2006 à 23:09 by SR

Being able to recover from an injury doesn’t depend on its severity but on the capacity to accept it. Claudio Caçapa isn’t just a good captain during the game and in times of victory, but also in the painful times of defeat.

The Brazilian-born defender, a recently naturalised Frenchman, was handed a starting spot tonight after an absence of three months. On August 30, towards the end of a free-kick training drill with Brazilians Juninho and Cris, Claudio went down and didn’t get up again. Diagnosis? Torn right hamstring. And it wouldn’t be the injury itself that would be the most painful thing. Once again captain Claudio found himself far from the pitch. Once again he would have to prove his courage and face his fears… Once again he would have to fight to return, a long battle mentally and physically. A battle against time, against himself, his skills and his powers. 3 months absent is 3 months’ hard work! 18 matches in front of the TV to support his teammates, who gave him much to be proud of, as, during his absence, the defence continued to play well.Müller and Squillaci both pitched in so well that their time at the back couldn’t be called an « interim ».
During this time, the captain eased himself back into the game with the OL reserves, allowing himself the luxury of a game versus Gap to confirm his good form. « I didn’t feel the slightest twinge I my thigh, which was essential. I just have to keep working hard » said the native of Lavras at the end of the game last week. Work, work and more work. And what better than a Champions League match to find his touch again?

A few minutes after Claudio was welcomed back warmly by the fans, Dica reminded OL how dangerous it is to fall behind in the Champions League (2’) and made the captain’s return that much harder. Paired next to the parsimonious Patrick Müller, the Brazilian played his customary accomplished game, anticipating Dica’s every mazy move, and heading danger clear time after time. A late tackle on Théréau (60’) showed everyone, despite the yellow card, Claudio’s determination and desire, which he confirmed a few moments later when he denied Théréau in the area (65’). His header from Nino’s cross almost gave OL the victory (75’). The crowd, satisfied by a hard-fought draw, sang loudly « Thank you OL ».

With Claudio absent since 20 August, one could have had doubts and fears about his return, as one did last year when he came back from a muscle strain or indeed the season before that, when Keita went studs-in to his knee… But Claudio showed us not to get used to adversity, but to learn to face up to it.
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