Today was one of those great days.

I hadn’t kicked a ball for some time and I decided to take up an offer – one of the invites I’ve been getting to play football.

It’s so crazy because when you retire you can get invites almost every day. When I was playing you had to go and look for a game and people would be shocked to see you playing on the streets. Maybe it’s because they think “he’s older now, we can take him on and
embarrass him,” because the rules on the street are simple: Don’t get nutmegged and don’t get clowned so that you fall on your ass. If that happens everyone will stop playing and laugh at you.

Back home in Amsterdam I always used to play on the streets because I strongly believe if you have street football skills it will help your knowledge and understanding of the game, especially when it comes to 1 against 1. Trust me I had a lot of them and you have to try to stay calm when you have the likes of Bale or Ronaldo running at you for 90 minutes. The only thing that can help you there is the confidence and calmness within yourself.

When I played on the streets in England I had to understand the culture difference of street football. In Holland it was about dribbling skills but at that time it was in the UK it was about how hard you could shoot.

I would turn up and have to wait until they were done shooting – which was a long time sometimes so I would wait in the car. Fortunately when I would get out of my car they were excited that I turned up and we would start playing instead of just shooting.

I text my friend Lasan yesterday and asked him if I could get a game early in the morning. He said we can start at 6. I said I love an early start, but it would sound much nicer if we changed it to 8am. The gentleman that he is changed it, but it was tricky getting to him because I wasn’t familiar with his neighbourhood so I arrived fashionably late and we actually started at 9am.

We played three games of 2 against 2 so we could rotate. There was a girl playing with us and I have to say her dribbling skills were on point. I almost twisted my ankle so I really had to focus. After the game she said let’s do it again with a smile.

The joy was priceless and I’m ready for more because there is no better way to keep fit than play the game that brings so much happiness.