An exclusive glimpse behind the scenes with Marcelo’s friend and reporter Tomasz Ćwiąkała

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Updated: June 12, 2017

A little over a week ago the Beşiktaş family celebrated their latest championship. The players and their fans were partying together near the banks of the Bosphorus and the Beşiktaş stadium, Vodafone Park. Polish journalist, and Marcelo’s friend, Tomasz Ćwiąkała was also present at the festivities. He takes us to take a peak behind the curtain and gives us a glimpse in to Marcelo’s plans for the future.

January 30th 2016, 15:30 – Hannover loses 3:0 to Bayer Leverkusen. After five successive defeats Thomas Schaaf’s team is getting closer and closer to relegation. Marcelo played the full 90 minutes.

30th January 2016, that evening – The Brazilian lands in Istanbul. He has one small suitcase with him. He is not going back to Hannover. The next day he is signing the contract and poses at the newly built Beşiktaş stadium. First a loan, then the final transfer for about two million Euros. In the back of his mind his thoughts are that this might be his last serious contract, or rather for sure the last serious European club in his career. – “I got a phonecall and immediately jumped on a plane. I did not even have time to think about it.”

June 4th 2017 – Marcelo celebrates his second consecutive championship in Turkey. He played in the UEFA Europa League and Champions League. At the table of Beşiktaş’ board of directors lies an offer from Olympique Lyon. If the transfer succeeds he will become one of the most expensive outgoing players ever in the history of the Turkish giant. What makes this even more significant – he is a 30-year-old defender.

The Asian part of Istanbul. The shopping mall named Buyaka. Marcelo stays unnoticed – he would have to hide himself under his hood and sunglasses. In order to sit down and talk to him, it is necessary to find a quiet spot and a table in the back. Otherwise you can feel everybody’s eyes on you. When he asks for the bill – you can hear people standing up from their tables. When he prepares to leave – people are queuing to take a picture. “I’m a Fenerbahçe fan but I respect you”. “You are a legend”. Sometimes it happens that someone, due to physical similarity, will mistake him with his teammate, Atiba Hutchinson, but generally the name Marcelo opens all of the doors in Istanbul. As to the Beşiktaş fans, because they love him. As to the Fenerbahçe or Galatasaray fans – because they respect the fact that he didn’t get involved in any controversial incidents. In this league there are a lot of them. For example, the fight between Dusko Tosic and Robin van Persie, which was so intense that even Tosic’s wife called the Dutchman a “stupid motherfucker” and wished him to break a leg on her Twitter account.

-“When did this madness start?” I asked, when we were coming back from Buyaka to the quiet Çekmeköy district.
– “From the very first day. From the moment I landed at the airport.” Marcelo said.

From that moment Marcelo plays basically in every game. In this season – 45 games: 32 in the league, 6 in the UCL, 4 in the UEL, 2 in the cup and 1 in the super cup. According to WhoScored – he is in the best 11 of the Süper Lig this season. The breaking point? Beating Osmanlispor 3:1 in the penultimate round of the previous season. Two goals from Marcelo gifted Beşiktaş the championship. From that moment on, people are crazy about him. Probably only Ricardo Quaresma is more popular. And slightly less popular… Marcelo’s family.

 

***

 

Beşiktaş’ museum at  Vodafone Park. We enter the place with Tatiane, the Brazilian’s wife. – Hello, free of charge – we hear at the very beginning. The club shop is tens of meters away. More fans are asking Tatiane for a picture there. Altogether a dozen or so. – It’s good that there are no kids with us – says Tati, who is present at the all of Beşiktaş’ games with their 7-year-old Diogo and 4-year-old Daniel. During one of the games she posted on her Instagram the video that shows Diogo singing Beşiktaş’ songs and the Turkish anthem, folding his hands in the symbol of the club. This shot is the most wanted one for the tv producers at every game. The boy, not aware of the situation, became the team mascot.  He is not as popular as his father, but he already gets some offers to promote elegant clothes and – at the same time – Turkish fanatics started fanpages of Diogo and Daniel.

 

(…)

-“Do you remember Michal Pazdan from Gornik Zabrze? I’m gonna show you a photo.”
-“Yes, I do.”
-“Beşiktaş made an offer for him, but Legia declined it. Besides, his wife didn’t want to go to Turkey. ”
-“When you’re going to be back, tell him how it is here. I have everything here. A big club that, fights for titles, trophies, kind people, great infrastructure. One disadvantage? Giant traffic jams. But since they have opened the tunnel under the Bosphorus, it’s much easier. For me, Turkey is like a little Brazil. ”

 

(…)
Beşiktaş’ celebrations starts already before noon on Saturday. Because of Ramadan the TFF moved the matches one day earlier. The players first meet in the club centre, then drive over the Bosphorus where they are going to board the ship. The next part of the program – a cruise together with dozens of other ships, boats and rays full of fans wearing black and white. –  “Look how it looks. I felt like a part of a computer game – says one of the Beşiktaş players at Marcelo’s kids birthday party, showing things on his Instagram.”

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(…)

 

Leader of the party? Quaresma. Beneath, tens of thousands of fans, a lot of flares or any other fireworks that you can imagine. A dozen or so streets around the stadium are closed. Only 2 or 3 hours left to the game, it’s boiling hot, smoke is coming in through the nostrils and the footballers are singing loud, intoning the next chants. Moments later, with the rearranged squad, they are going to trash Osmanlispor. First, the guard of honour formed by Lukasz Szukala and his teammates, next a 4:0 victory thanks to the Turkish representative, Cenk Tosun. Demba Ba, Marcelo and Ricardo Quaresma – they are watching the game from the stands. Quaresma can concentrate on the game only thanks to the stewards. Even though this is a VIP section, a dozen or so group of people are blocking the corridor between the sections. However, some teenager manages to break a distance of one meter from the Portuguese talisman. The steward intervenes but Quaresma, seeing the girl’s crying attack, is hugging her and taking a selfie. The girl will not be able to calm herself down until the end of the match.

 

(…)

 

The season has ended one round earlier for the Brazilian player. After clinching the championship against Gaziantepspor he decided for a minor ankle surgery. However, when he comes back to his homeland, he won’t have a holiday. The calendar of meetings in a few different states is chock-full, like for an experienced businessman. A few months ago Marcelo along with another former player of Wisla Cracow – Cleber and his befriended lawyer created a football club named FC Hinnes, settled in Sao Jao da Boa Vista. Since that time, Marcelo has gotten into management courses and during the representation’s break he has flown overseas to conduct meetings about the future of the club. FC Hinnes is supposed to start from the bottom rung. Before, it is necessary to go several hundred kilometres away to talk about using a parrot named Arara-Azul as a mascot of the team.

-“And do you really have to deal with such details on your own?”
-“Yes. If I have time, I want to do as much as possible.”
-“For what do you need this club?”
-“To have some plan when my career ends.”
-“But you will earn nothing on it.”
-“Why not? Man, it’s Brazil. You have a footballer on each corner there. It’s just necessary to select and train them well to make them ready for Europe. I haven’t burnt my bridges. Dries Mertens spent the holiday with me in Brazil and Mariusz Pawelek sent a video in which he congratulates me on winning the championship. I have left many of my friends in Wisla, PSV and Hannover. In the future I would like to enter into some cooperation with them.”
-“First you will have to invest heavily.”
-“About four years ago I prepared a plan for the future. I haven’t lost money on Ferrari or Lamborghini and I neither pay 20 thousand dollars for the house rent. I don’t need such luxury. Relax, I will cope with everything.”

 

**Türkçe**

 

All fragments come from Tomasz Ćwiąkała’s blog. You can follow him on Twitter and  Facebook.

Filip Cieśliński
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Filip Cieśliński

I have been in love with Turkish football since 2010, every other year more and more. Fortunately I find a way to add it to my second passion, which is actually my job - sports journalism. I've already experienced adventures in Radio, TV, websites and newspapers. I'm currently part of a sports newsroom for one of the biggest Polish newspapers "Fakt" and am involved in some other projects of publisher Ringier Axel Springer Polska.

Warsaw, Poland
Filip Cieśliński
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