David Luiz – suspended for Brazil’s Tuesday night qualifier against Peru after receiving a second yellow card vs. Argentina – returned to Paris yesterday to join his Paris Saint-Germain club teammates as they attempt to return to relative normalcy ahead of a weekend matchup away to Lorient. It’s a return riddled with fear after the attacks that took place on Friday night in the French capital.
“I’m worried. I want to be near my girlfriend and my friends who stayed in France,” the defender told GloboEsporte. But “if it were up to me, I’d stay,” he continued.
No one can blame him. According to Uruguay’s Álvaro González, Edinson Cavani has the same trepidation in anticipation of his return to club action following Uruguay’s midweek qualifier vs. Chile. “They spoke of the fact that David Luiz would not return to Paris and Edinson said he would rather not have to go either,” he told L’Equipe.
Patrice Evra was dribbling up the pitch during France’s 2-0 win over Germany when the second bomb exploded on Friday night.
It later surfaced that suicide bombers had set off multiple bombs around the Stade de France – one even attempting to enter the stadium with a ticket, only to be stopped by security – killing at least two people and injuring many others. As the gravity of the unfolding events made its way through the stadium bubble, it immediately became clear that soccer was only important in its capacity to maintain a level of routine and calm, which stood in sharp contrast to the chaos of the streets outside.
Upon the match’s conclusion, some fans exited through restricted entrances and made their way towards the subway. But as Laurent Dubois writes, “others had a different reflex, which was to wait in a place that seemed safe: on the football pitch itself…That green rectangle of the Stade de France is the mythic site of the victory of 1998, of the pitch invasion of 2001. It is a patch of grass that millions of French have watched and fretted over year after year during games.” On Friday night, it served what she describes as “perhaps its greatest purpose: it became, for a time, a refuge.”
Despite fútbol’s unimportance in the face of total devastation, David Luiz and Edinson Cavani will play their own small roles in helping Paris and France rebuild, allowing people to find solace and comfort on the pitch. Some of their French teammates, like Blaise Matuidi, will take part in what Ian Herbert characterizes as an “emphatic and immediate response to the terror” when they compete in France’s friendly match against England at Wembley tomorrow.