The bizarre link between Semedo & Krmencik - a letter to Ruben
Never in my mind did I imagine a scenario where my first blog post on this website would be about Ruben Semedo, let alone that this would take the form of a letter. When we initiated this blog, my co-host Lambros Syrmos launched a wonderful initiative called "The night I fell in love with Olympiakos". I had hoped to continue this series and write my own story about how I fell in love with the red and white legend. One day I will! In the meantime, while I continue to get my PhD in juggling work, family life with wife, kids, dog, my hobbies and... everything life throws at you in general, I encourage anyone reading this to send us your contribution to this series and we would be happy to publish.
So, here we are. After a rough and tumultuous 6 months in which Semedo had essentially been frozen out of the team and despite all his efforts to hit the self-destruct button on his career (again), Ruben Semedo has completed his move to FC Porto on loan with an option to buy. Porto is not a Bayern Munich or a Juventus or a Real Madrid. But it's a club with a massive brand name, well-respected around the football world and let's not forget, a Champions League winner, winner of multiple European titles and a serial winner in Portugal. Ruben Semedo, here's my letter to you.
I remember when you first signed for the club and started playing, I’d never seen a centre back like you playing for our club. We knew that you were the kind of player that, under normal circumstances, would only come to Greece for summer holidays in Mykonos. Olympiakos gave you a second shot to relaunch your career. And your performances during the 2019-20 Champions League Qualification campaign were nothing short of fantastic. You were a tank. A brick wall. Nothing, nobody, no one was getting past you. You gave us hope that we had finally found a centre back to lead our back line. Your ability to play the ball from out the back is also something we have possibly never seen from an Olympiakos centre back, at the level that you did it. I remember being at your first game at Karaiskaki: Olympiakos vs Viktoria Plzen. Michael Krmencic (later played for PAOK) didn't know what hit him. You were his worst nightmare. You came to us with a point to prove, with the eye of the tiger and the start to your career in the red and white of Olympiakos was absolutely..."top draw".
Alas, somewhere along the way, after your first season, some of those issues that you faced before in your past came back to haunt. The focus around you became more about what you did off-the-pitch than what you did on the pitch. Admittedly the off-the-pitch incidents clearly had an effect on your on-the-pitch performances. In your second season, coincidentally it was Michael Krmencic (playing for PAOK) that broke you and our defensive line to deliver PAOK victory in the dying moments of the Greek Cup Final in the 2020-21 season. A bitter end to the season. An end to the season that I understand left an ever more bitter taste for you when you were left out of the Portugal squad for Euro 2020...
Ruben Semedo, in spite of everything, I will not say I'm "glad to see the back of you" but it was clear that it was "time to go". I will choose to remember you for your performances "on-the-pitch", particularly that excellent first season in which we regained our title as Champions of Greece and won the double after two years without a trophy.
It is saddening to see you leave in the way you are leaving. Ultimately, yours is a case of “what if” and “if only”…
Good luck at Porto, Ruben. You didn’t fully take your second chance in football with us. But maybe at Porto it will be a case of “third times a charm”.
Adeus Ruben Semedo e boa sorte.