In his very last match, Bryan Ruiz gave FC Twente a gift. And his 15-year-old son did the same. The man of the evening got his dream farewell. It’s really over now. It was nice, thanks, see you soon.
In the run-up to the duel, everything has been arranged and recorded, but some things cannot be directed. The first goal is for papa Ruiz, the last for his 15-year-old son Mathias. How beautiful and special do you want it. Appointed work? None of it. It had to be that way.
What a start
The match between Alajuelense, his first and last club, and FC Twente is less than two minutes old when the birthday girl shoots the ball. As if the FC Twente uniform still gives him magical powers, Bryan Ruiz continues what he left off in 2011: scoring for the Tukkers. To be clear: the goal is not a gift, but an example of old-fashioned class.
After his goal, all FC Twente players run into the field. Those of the home team stood up and clapped. The blood fanatical audience lets the love for their captain prevail over that of the club and cheers along with the players.
Ruiz wears the number 10 and plays on 10. That Virgil Misidjan wears the same number on his back, it’s all possible on this sun-drenched afternoon. His second touch? A heel, with which he puts his compatriot Manfred Ugalde alone in front of the keeper. It is a kind of ode to his entire Twente oeuvre. As if he wants to show you one more: remember? If FC Twente supporters haven’t got it yet, they will now: nostalgia for wonderful times.
Visitors’ dressing room
An hour and a half before that, he reported in the visitors’ dressing room. One more hug and conversation with his former teammate Sander Boschker and then he runs onto the field, followed by his temporary teammates. The Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto claps, cheers, screams.
Lots of money
Normally a ticket for a game costs eight dollars, for this party game the fans had to pay between twenty and $100. These are hefty prices by Costa Rican standards, but people are talking about seeing their hero live in action one more time. The stadium is almost sold out with 18,000 spectators.
Before the game, he receives a bowl from Wout Brama, which is made by the same supplier who manufactured the original championship bowl for FC Twente in 2010: Gracias, is on it, including the four prizes he won in Enschede. A bunch of FC Twente fans sing the oh so well-known victory song: singing Bryan Ruiz.
No Bayern Munich
Both teams are still trying to make it a serious match in the first half, although it is of course not as vicious as once when our great star, Johan Cruijff, said goodbye. At the time, the guests of Bayern Munich were so annoyed by the arrogant treatment of Ajax that they completely ruined Cruijff’s party in revenge: 0-8. The relations between Alajuelense and FC Twente are a lot more friendly.
The big switch
After the break, the number 10 changes teams and the big ball begins. Mathias, Ruiz’s 15-year-old son who plays in the club’s academy, is allowed to participate, just like his childhood idol: 51-year-old Wílmer López. FC Twente has also come up with eleven other names. It is more than a dream that Mathias scores the equalizer fifteen minutes before the end. It’s a fairytale.
Turn off the lights
Nine minutes before time, the lights in the stadium go out and the spotlights are once more for the maestro. A mighty show follows. Even in the distance of San José, the fireworks are set off. It is the last time that Ruiz addresses the public as a footballer. The emotion and gratitude roll from the steep stands. The audience storms the field in the dark. The match is over.
Beautiful in simplicity
Gracias Capi, Adios Capi is written on two large banners. There is also a cloth in the corner of the FC Twente supporters: thank you Bryan. Beautiful in its simplicity, just like Bryan Ruiz himself.
Oh yes, the game ends in 2-2, but nobody heard about that result anymore. The only winner on this evening is Bryan Ruiz himself.
Line-up FC Twente first half: Unnerstall; Everink, Hilgers, Pleguezuelo, Smal; Zerrouki, Kjolo, Ruiz; D.Rots, Ugalde, Misidjan.
Second half: El Maach; Salah-Eddine, Bruns, Pröpper, M. Rots; Staring, Vlap, Steijn; Cleonise, Van Wolfswinkel, Sybrandy.
Goals FC Twente: Ruiz and Ugalde.
Our reporter Leon ten Voorde is present in Costa Rica and reports on this special match.
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