Once upon a time there was a brave man born by the name of Felipe Melo de Carvalho. When the leading voice of his life drove him to Turkey, he arrived incredibly bitter. He had dozens of reasons to be angry at life: 2010 was a miserable year for Felipe. He was made a scapegoat by the weak national team coach Dunga, and this after being the bearer of the Brazilian national team during the confederations cup in 2009. The struggling coach blamed the loss against the Dutch during the World Cup quarterfinals in South Africa wholly on the midfielder. Somehow, the dozens of missed chances and the deficiencies of a goalkeeper named Cesar, easily forgiven after a handful of tears on national television, were forgotten.
Whilst Melo’s great performances in 2009 saw him rewarded with a transfer to Italian powerhouse Juventus, it would be a disaster for all parties involved. For a man whose honour is his pride, it was a heartbreaking time. Hate and rejection from his country coupled with harsh criticism from the Italian press for his performances. Was there anyone willing to give the hard working midfielder a second chance?
There was, a club called Galatasaray, who had just endured a terrible season herself.
In Turkey nobody really cares about your last performance, only the highlights you once made. So followed the usual scenes at the airport in Istanbul, with crowds of people chanting his name and putting scarves around his neck. I truly believe it was love at first sight between us. Felipe is a person of stong belief, a religious man, who looked upon the sky and thanked his leader in life for once again putting him around people who loved him. The Turks are a devoted people, and so we loved his whole family and friends too: his amazing, and maybe even more fanatic, wife Roberta, and his adorable childern.
I heavily doubt footballers who kiss the badge too soon, or who try to interact with the fans from the start. But I never, not once, doubted Felipe. And he did both. I will never forget his impassioned reaction after a well made tackle in the box in his first game. Some fans, like me, will never stop dreaming of somehow one day playing a game for Galatasaray, the love of our life. Felipe Melo played like we all think we should play. Around the world we ask for passion and combat on the pitch from the players. He would deliver every single game. Whilst it’s hard to not only brag about his commitment, however, what I didn’t know at the time is that he is a true Brazilian, blessed with amazing technique and great passing, a total midfielder.
I don’t want to sum up all the great things he did during his time with us: the ones who made this journey with him will cherish those memories, for life. I will tell my future children everything again and again, with tears in my eyes, about that amazing era, untill they grow bored of me. Felipe Melo is irreplaceable. And once again we stand on our own. He always protected us from this feeling: whenever we would be angry at something he spoke about it, giving us the faith that our voices are heard. In this troubled time under a terrible board, the fact he won’t be there for us will make it unbearable.
I just saw pictures of his arrival in Milano, and he feigns happiness. He is as hurt as we are. But I don’t blame him. I would like to compare this as a break up with your loved one. Sometimes things just don’t work anymore, even when both hearts still inmensely love one another. He’s the one that made the hard decisions, and so he gets more blame in the begining. But as long as the club is not run by the right people, we have to stand united against them so that one day our loved ones won’t be taken from us and we can bring back the ones we cared for the most.
I wish you all the best Pitbull, we will always love you and are thankful everyday for our time together. Take care of little Telles and salut Mancini!