There are players who you root for simply because they play for your team. You want your team to do well, therefore you root for their success. It doesn't always work out that way, but work with me here. Others, you root for them because they simply are brilliant footballers.
But sometimes there are players you root for, not just because of what they are on the field, but what they are off of it. Those players are the definition of class; incredibly talented players, incredibly respected human beings.
For a lot of us, Milos Krasic falls into the final group.
As humans, it's hard for us not to get attached to players. It's just the nature of things. And because of how classy he is and how well he played when he first joined the club during the fall of 2010.
However, you could see the kind of person that Krasic is even before he wore the Juventus jersey for the time.
His signing nearly took a whole summer to complete. Some of us, including yours truly, woke up at incredibly odd hours of the morning to watch him play at the 2010 World Cup to see what all the commotion was all about. He wasn't great in the tournament, but there were flashes of what kind of player he could be. And all throughout the tournament, the rumors swirled about where the Serbian winger may go, but he always wanted one thing: Juventus.
The cuckoo bucks from the EPL — namely Manchester City and their €50 bazillion-a-week contracts — didn't change his mind. At all. That's how you know you've got somebody good even before you've actually got em.
I remember his debut in Bari. Much like the rest of the team, Krasic was quite underwhelming. That, of course, caused knee-jerk reactions after the smallest of sample sizes. "Krasic is a waste of money!" they said. Little did we know — detractors included — that Meelosh would be scoring a hat trick just a month later.
(insert Simpsons "HAW HAW" soundbite here.)
His first half of his Juventus saw just about everything. There were goals, there were assists, there were bombing runs that stretched over half the field. Milos Mania was taking over Turin with every game that passed — and there was nothing anybody could do about it. Claudio Zuliani dubbed him "IlTalismano" and it was fit perfectly. Krasic's performances were memorable as can be, even carrying the squad at times. He was the signing of the season and taking Serie A by storm.
But the scintillating form disappeared once the calendar flipped over to a brand new year. As the rest of the team went into the tank, so did Krasic. The form he had at the beginning never returned. We rooted for him to get back, but he never regained the magic. And once Antonio Conte made tactical switches that didn't require any kind of offensive-minded wingers like Krasic, the writing was on the wall.
Much to his credit, Krasic didn't complain about it. Neither did he mouth off about being frozen out of the squad. That's the true test of a man — when some may have complained in the press, Krasic kept his mouth shut and continued to train with the club.
Milos Krasic became more than just a player on our favorite team. His run with Juventus was only two years long, but that really shouldn't matter. He became somebody we came to admire, somebody who was a shining star during what was an otherwise incredibly dark period in Juventus' past.
And that is something that we will never forget.
May Turkey treat you well, Milos. We will certainly be watching from afar.