Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has something of a reputation for being slightly eccentric at times off the pitch, what goalkeeper doesn’t?
But he has made me chuckle with his latest antics.
In September the Spanish stopper, who has been on loan with Napoli under Rafa Benitez, became the first ever goalkeeper to save a Mario Balotelli penalty - much to the pleasure of the Neapolitan hoards.
Reina, obviously exalted by his magnificent achievement, just had to ask Mario, formerly of Manchester City, for the shirt he had on when striking the ball his way.
And in all fairness to Mario, he was a good sport, and obliged Reina.
Now most footballers frame those sort of mementos - and stick them up on the wall for all to see. In reality they throw them in a bag with a plethora of other shirts collected over the years, until injury allows them the boredom to sort their illustrious souvenirs out.
But Reina, he is keeping his much closer to his chest.
Due to his excellent form for Napoli, he got the nod ahead of Manchester United’s number one stopper David de Gea and Real Madrid’s current custodian Diego Lopez to act as the third choice stopper in Spain’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Belarus and Georgia - and decided to bring with him some very interesting pyjamas from Italy for the trip with the national team.
“I wear very special pyjamas now,” is what Reina told Onda Cero.’’It is made up of the Milan shirt Balotelli was wearing when I saved his penalty and some Napoli shorts. After saving the penalty, I couldn’t resist asking him for his jersey, as it was an historic event. He gave it to me and I brought it here to create an unusual pyjama kit.”
Very unusual indeed.
I just wonder if somewhere tonight Andreas Kopke is sleeping in that dinge grey Gareth Southgate number from Euro ‘96.
image: © Eric The Fish (2013)