The world's most reliable handshake
"You got my word on it."
If I got one penny every time I have heard this in football I would already have a wallet of Roman Abrahimovic. It surely is no surprise to anyone long enough in the business why the common saying "Don't hate the player hate the game" is more realistic.
This year there has been thrown at me an endless amount of lies, regulations and disrespect. I have been pressured with complex legislation and economical jargon. No football is been played yet but I have moved continents and been banned from training in order to cut my contracts. I just want to play football, because I know that I can do myself justice on the pitch. Over last 26 years of my career it has always worked out good when I have been on the pitch. However, there is always a John or a Stefan who are there not for football but for a personal power trip and you end up playing ball with lawyers or running in the snow instead. How about football, all the promises and legally binding contracts? Errrh... so you count it wrong. Why people who talked me for years to take this opportunity are not answering their phones anymore? Yep… sure my wellbeing is still important to you. So you actually told this kind of version to the press or to the board? Yeahyeah… I know you didn’t mean it like it came out there.
Even if we take the professional side and legal contracts away there are in football some things I never get used to. I have been raised to believe people are good for their word. In Finland you have no other choice. People are so fanatically obsessed about honesty and justice that it is not just a slap from your old man but also an internal disgust if you can’t stand behind your promises. If you do business, make a promise or even just leave your bag for a stranger to look after you can trust it to be a safe deal. Finns have the world's most reliable handshake.
So in football business sometimes it is not easy to be Finnish, you get often finished – or at least disappointed - for being blue eyed. I thought I already knew and am smart enough to handle this world but I just got absolutely screwed in two countries in a short period of time. My career and life will have detrimental effects because of this. Bitter, law case or give up? Not options because I want to do justice to my career. As my old man says you always got to do the best you can and behave with good intentions, respectfully and honestly. I just gave half of my contract in order to do that. Will it pay off? Only if I play football. And anyways, there is no backing off from it now because I already shook my hand on it.
Something I have learned in international football:
1. Don't trust anyone
2. Even if you trust someone be aware what is happening and have a plan b
3. Don't move a muscle before all the details, formalities and paper work are completed and approved
4. Get everything written
5. Don't just let it go or settle because otherwise they can do it to another player