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ICYMI – the gracias Jerzy edition

May 22, 2011

In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Almería [2011-05-21, Liga jornada 38, Jerzy Dudek’s last game as a Real Madrid player].  Regular ICYMI post to come later; this is a Jerzy Dudek tribute ICYMI.

ONE.  Jerzy Dudek started his last game in the Real Madrid shirt, and it was a memorable one, for the affection he received from the fans, and for the honor guard he received from his teammates.

TWO.  I wonder what was going through Jerzy’s mind, as he arrived at the Bernabéu for the last time?

THREE.  As he warmed up, the crowd applauded him.  Prior to the game, he received hugs and a mini replica of the statue of Sotero Aranguren and Machimbarrena from the hands of FP and Jorge Valdano, and an ovation from the Bernabéu.  Then, as he jogged towards his goal, the crowd regaled him with chants of “Du-dek, Du-dek.”  The crowd continued supporting him, even after Almería scored a goal, their only one of the night.

FOUR.  The green of the jersey really complements his eyes, no?

FIVE.  In the 77th minute, Jerzy Dudek came out to a standing ovation from the fans, and a pasillo from his teammates, both the ones on the field and the ones on the bench, as well as the technical staff who all got up to take part.  It made me cry.  He hugged each one of them as he passed by, including Mou, with the longest hug coming from Kaká.

SIX.  Jerzy also had the nice gesture of taking off his gloves and tossing them into the crowd behind the bench.  As he sat down on the bench, he received even more hugs.

SEVEN.  After the game, he said, “I’m speechless.  It has been a spectacular day… with teammates like this, I will never forget this day.  (The honor guard) was unexpected, I had never seen anything like it before and it was a surprise.  I had spoken with the míster about getting subbed out at the end of the game so I could thank the fans, but I didn’t expect to receive a pasillo.  I want to thank everyone, this team and this club are so great, and very affectionate, which you can feel both on and off the field.”  And when asked what he’s leaving behind, Jerzy replied, “I don’t know, I am how I am.  I always try to support everyone, I don’t get a lot of playing time, but I’m always there behind the team because you have to know what your role is.”  What a fantastic person he is.

EIGHT.  And a couple more moments from the game featuring our beloved Jerzy.

NINE.  Iker said on Facebook yesterday that (I’m going to translate from the Spanish for him, instead of relying on his English post) “during my football career, I’ve gotten to know many people.  ‘Jerzey’ is without a doubt one of the best friends I’ve made in this profession.  All the best for you, crack!”  What a sweet note!  But Iker, you couldn’t leave your purse to the side for this picture?

TEN.  And here’s my little tribute to Jerzy, in the form of nice things I’ve posted about him in the past.

In his Real… interview, Antonio Adán said, “I feel privileged to be able to work with Jerzy Dudek, who is a wonderful goalkeeper and above all else a wonderful person.”  Iker said during an interview with Marca that “Jerzy, he’s won everything and we have a spectacular relationship.  Both (Jerzy and Antonio) are wonderful.”  And José Mourinho said during a press conference in October that “Dudek is a top goalkeeper for his experience and his weight on the team.”

We’ve also seen Jerzy cheer on his team from the bench, defend his teammates against the rivals…

… support the canteranos

… make some wonderful saves…

… coach his teammates from the sidelines…

… and when he got injured, we got to see the love his teammates and the fans have for him.

And of course, who can forget his role in this incident?

Or his love for golf and these golf outfits?

We’ve also seen Jerzy teach Kaká about Poland, campaign for the FAO, explain why goalkeepers are like wine and reveal where Sergio expects to see him in 10 years time.

ELEVEN.  And of course, we can’t forget Psychic Jerzy.

During the Almería vs. Real Madrid on April 15, 2010, Rafa van der Vaart celebrated his goal (and thus marking a Madrid comeback) by running over to the bench to celebrate with Jerzy.  He revealed later that his goal was dedicated to Jerzy, because he deserved it, because he’s a wonderful teammate who is always cheering everyone on, and because Jerzy had told Rafa that he would score that day!

And this is from the ICYMI post for Zaragoza vs. Real Madrid on April 24, 2010 (full game post here).

During the month and a half that Kaká was injured, Jerzy told him every day, “you are one of the best players in the world and you’re going to show that to everyone.”  Before this game, Jerzy had said to Ricky that he was going to score an important goal this season and predicted it would be at La Romareda.  He told him via song: he sang “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas – “I gotta a feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night.”

And that’s why Kaká celebrated by embracing Jerzy Dudek, just as Rafa van der Vaart had done against Almería (because Jerzy cheered him up and told him he would score, and for the Polish plane accident that took the life of the president), and Cristiano against Santander, for the goalkeeper’s 37th birthday.  Kaká and Jerzy also sat together on the plane ride back from Zaragoza.

Thank you for everything, Jerzy Dudek!  You will be missed by your teammates, by the coaching staff, by the club and by the fans.  Mucha suerte.

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. Maddi permalink
    May 22, 2011 16:26

    Gracias indeed. He will be missed. Thank you so much Una for taking the time to make posts for departing players

  2. May 22, 2011 16:34

    I’m so glad there’s a separate post in honor of Dudek! Beautiful post, Una.

    He deserved a wonderful sendoff and the honor guard was so sweet. Dudek shows that just because you don’t have as much time on the field, it doesn’t mean that you can’t play an influential and important role off the field. Dudek is all class, no doubt about it!

  3. May 22, 2011 16:56

    Una, you said it best –

    “Thank you for everything, Jerzy Dudek! You will be missed by your teammates, by the coaching staff, by the club and by the fans. Mucha suerte.”

  4. amouria permalink
    May 22, 2011 17:05

    Happy for him and sad for us…he has been considered the FATHER in the dressing room. always supportive…such an elegant personality. Players and staff will miss him a lot…
    I wish great great life in and beyond football. who knows, with such a rich experience and great personality, he will be a wonderful coach…

  5. syahid H permalink
    May 22, 2011 17:25

    madridista always love u jerzy dudek…you are a legend, as goalkeeper and as a human..

  6. Lorelei permalink
    May 22, 2011 17:32

    I definitely got teary-eyed watching Jerzy play his last game for us. The pasillo was such a beautiful gesture from his teammates and the coaching staff. He definitely deserved it. He was a great player, a phenomenal teammate, and a class act who represented Real Madrid so well. He’ll be missed. We’re already spoiled to have Iker as our goalkeeper, but we were doubly spoiled to have a player like Jerzy as a backup (Side note: I love how Iker’s man-purse makes an appearance in that photo with Jerzy).

    Thanks for everything, Jerzy, and good luck in the future!

  7. asma permalink
    May 22, 2011 17:33

    Thank you very much Jerzy Dudek! May you achieve success in your future undertakings and we will never forget you.

  8. Cindy permalink
    May 22, 2011 17:52

    Wishing all the best to Jerzey Dudek. You will be misses and Thank you for the wonderful years with RM.

  9. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    May 22, 2011 17:57

    Thank you Dudek for everything and we miss you! I am tearing up on this post!
    The Pasillo was surprising and a great gesture, I teared up watching it, the club missed on their team motivators ( Dudek and Diarra), who is gonna do their jobs now!

    Du-dek, du-dek!!

  10. May 22, 2011 18:04

    OMG, this post made my eyes well up! I’m a new Real Madrid fan so I’m not really familiar with him. But then I read comments and articles about how he’s always so supportive of his teammates and how great he is. That’s enough to make me feel emotional about him leaving and retiring. I thank him for always being there and I wish him all the best in life :’)

  11. Fatima permalink
    May 22, 2011 18:25

    I didn’t see the entire match, but I did see the pasillo and I got emotionel. Really love Dudek and especially after the episode with Rafa. Wish him all the best in the future and I know that I will definetly miss him A LOT!! I have no words to describe him.

  12. ama permalink
    May 22, 2011 18:35

    This post brought a tear to my eye, Una! But I’m glad you made a separate post for Jerzy, because he deserves so much credit. He’s done the difficult job of being back-up for Iker with such grace. And I like that this post highlights some of the things he’s done behind the scenes; even though we didn’t often see him on the pitch, he made such great contributions to the spirit of this team we all love. And for that I’m really grateful.

  13. LosT SpiriT permalink
    May 22, 2011 18:42

    thank you Dudek
    madridista won’t forget u r such a wonderful person and player

  14. Happy permalink
    May 22, 2011 19:12

    Thank you Dudek for all your paying these 4 years. We will miss you, and I believe all the teammates will miss you too.
    I feel very warm by what the club did and the players did, Una, thanks for giving us this post, this is a post about Dudek, and tell us why he is important to the club.

  15. RMFan permalink
    May 22, 2011 19:39

    aww Una, this actually made me cry…Bye Jerzy..you will be missed 🙂

  16. Zparklemotion permalink
    May 22, 2011 19:47

    This was wonderful. Amazing man.

  17. Pammie permalink
    May 22, 2011 19:55

    What a wonderful tribute to the legend Jerzy Dudek!
    A lot of people from the team and club will miss him for his great support and companionship. It was very touching to see him bid farewell like this and it brought tears to my eyes. I wish him all the best for his future!

  18. amy permalink
    May 22, 2011 20:08

    haha.. anyone else notice kaka picking his nose in that gif of jerzy waving from the bench?

  19. IsaBella permalink
    May 22, 2011 22:16

    Thank you Una for doing this post, it means a lot to me as Jurek Dudek not only comes from where I live, but he is one of the best players I have ever met. Thank you again and I will miss him, as much as most of the madridistas.

  20. May 22, 2011 23:24

    Thank you Dudek! He is such a nice person who is clearly loved by all the Real Madrid staff. I wish him all the best.

    And Iker, I love him but: 1) Won’t he let go of that purse already! I want to see what’s so important in it that can’t be kept in the pockets of his clothes!
    2) He can’t get the spelling of the name of a good teammate correctly!

    Back to Dudek : The pasillo and the fans reaction were superb.

  21. Sunny permalink
    May 22, 2011 23:38

    Sometimes I think Jerzy was underrated and underappreciated during his time with Madrid, but I enjoyed him nonetheless and I’m thankful for his contributions to our team. Many thanks and best of luck to him.

  22. May 22, 2011 23:44

    Thanks for everything, Jerzy!! I, too, see you playing until you’re 48 =)

  23. Whiskey permalink
    May 22, 2011 23:59

    Bravo! Can’t really add much more to the tributes – thanks Una for dedicating a post to Jerzy!

  24. Kirstin permalink
    May 23, 2011 04:11

    As both a Real Madrid fan and a Liverpool fan, I am so proud that Jerzy Dudek played for both of my favorite teams. In Liverpool, he was our first choice goalkeeper before Pepe Reina came. He was, along with Gerrard, Smicer and our very own Xabi, a hero in the “miracle of Istanbul” and we will never forget the amazing saves that he did during that magical night. And though he didn’t get a lot of playing time in Real Madrid, he decided to stay with the club for four years. I had the pleasure of watching him play when they came to the US… so Jerzy, you will be missed!!!

  25. black widow permalink
    May 23, 2011 09:23

    lovely post, thank you. powodzenia, jerzy!

  26. Sayu permalink
    May 23, 2011 10:52

    so sweet of you una to make a post for our grandpa dudek. he is a wonderful person! and is well loved by everyone! thank you Dudek for all the time, effort and love you’ve given to the club and the team!!!!!!

  27. Gina permalink
    May 23, 2011 11:33

    Thanks for this beautiful post! Jerzy certainly deserves it, for he’s such a beautiful man. :’)

  28. Chloe permalink
    May 23, 2011 11:55

    “you are one of the best players in the world and you’re going to show that to everyone.”
    what an exceptional man.
    I admire him so much to be able to have to sit on the bench most games and still give yourself to people like Kaka and VDV.

  29. ToujoursPetite permalink
    May 23, 2011 18:06

    Jerzy holds a special place in my heart even more so, as a Liverpool supporter. We’ll be missing a gracious and supportive companion, we’ve been really fortunate to have someone like him around! I wish him luck on all of this future endeavors; I’ll definitely be a fan for life.

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