ISL Final, Bengaluru FC v FC Goa - Gallego injury and complaint against Miku last thing BFC want to be reminded about
It's never the intention of a player to cause harm to another in a way that it would end the latter's career.
Bengaluru FC striker Miku's attempted shot, unfortunately, broke the leg of NorthEast United's Federico Gallego during their ISL semifinal back on March 11 but it was an accident. Nothing more. There was no malice involved.
Yet, in the guise of looking after their players, NorthEast United are rather hoping that three of Bengaluru's biggest stars - Miku, Dimas Delgado and Sunil Chhetri - play no part in the Bengaluru FC v FC Goa ISL final.
This, through a complaint lodged with the AIFF pointing out 19 instances of Bengaluru players being harsh on them on the pitch during the second leg of the ISL semifinal.
For Bengaluru, who are set to take the pitch in the ISL final, the NorthEast United complaint is a distraction they would do better without.
Their coach, Carles Cuadrat, shot back during the ISL Pre-Final Press Conference that the one who complained against Miku knows nothing about football.
"I don't know who wrote the complaint, but I can say that person knows nothing about football," Cuadrat said.
"It was an unfortunate accident, but anyone who says Miku did it deliberately should not be taken seriously.
"Miku visited him in hospital on the very next day. Gerard Zaragoza, my assistant, and I visited him too, and wished him well."
Gallego's injury is really, really unfortunate. The NEUFC playmaker ranks as one of the best midfielders to have taken the pitch but it's saddening that his season had to end that way, getting hit on the momentum soon after his tackle on Miku.
Though there are no hard feelings among the players concerned, NorthEast are not letting the matter go. Or perhaps they are yet to come to terms with their semifinal defeat.
In a strongly-worded press release, NorthEast claim their complaint is not against a particular individual but about the entire team's behaviour.
"Our biggest concern is the safety and security of our players. The Club has filed a complaint with the respected officials at the AIFF in the hope of protecting professional footballers, their career and fair play for the sport in India," NorthEast United said in the statement issued a day before the ISL final.
"It has cited the incident that left Gallego with a serious injury but has also highlighted 19 other episodes of a similar playing style.
"We experienced first-hand how that resulted for our midfielder and hope to protect other players who could be injured in the future."
NorthEast United set out to address the 'misinformation' in the media about their AIFF complaint but the timing of their latest sermon does seem a bit odd, coming right before the ISL final.
"We are a club made up of men and women who deeply care about and understand football. The basis on which we would file a complaint is not on personal preference or an isolated event, but on a pattern of behaviour that has led to harm," NorthEast United said.
"We are confident that the officials at the AIFF will come to the same conclusion and support us in this matter to protect everyone on the pitch."
The NEUFC statement added:
"As we wait for the outcome of the findings from the AIFF Disciplinary Committee, our primary focus remains on the recovery and rehabilitation of Federico Gallego.
"He has been released from the hospital and is currently undergoing treatment in Dubai. He is expected to make a full recovery and we are looking forward to welcoming him back on the field."
Yes, it would be great to see him on the pitch again, fighting as always. That's what everyone in the Indian football fraternity hopes for.
But for Bengaluru now, they need to put that on the back of their minds and focus on the final alone.