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Old 19-03-2020, 23:46   #1170
fray
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I believe I have posted this story about Harvey Esajas on here before, but I'll post it again in a more applicable thread.

Harvey Esajas, born in 1974 in Amsterdam, was a good friend of Milan icon Clarence Seedorf and out of every footballer to have played for the Rossoneri, he was the only one to raise the eyebrows of the Milan fans.

Harvey and Seedorf became famous when they played in Ajax's youth team. Both had parents from Suriname. Harvey - who was dubbed as the 'new Rijkaard' - was the best of the two and moved away already at the age of 18 because he couldn't break into Ajax's A-team.

Next stop for Harvey was Feyenoord. There, he ended up fighting with an opponent in a pre-season match against the amateur side Helders Selectie. Then, he went to Groningen and then onto a few smaller Dutch clubs. When Seedorf, who then had moved to Madrid, got a place on the youth team of Real Madrid, Harvey hung back.

It was 1999, Real Madrid had just won the Champions League, and Harvey couldn't get out of the terrible situation he found himself in. Instead, he started his own companies. First it was a nightclub called Metropolis and then an antique shop. He also had a job in a circus where he tore down the tents and worked behind the bar. Harvey smoked two packs cigarettes a day and when the circus packed down, he became a tourist guide around Madrid.

In January 2004, Seedorf called Harvey again. Clarence was now playing for AC Milan and he asked Harvey to come over to see the Derby against Inter. When the retired circus worker landed at the airport, Seedorf exclaims: 'Jesus christ, you're fatter than ever!'. Harvey weighed 120 kilos at the time and had not played football in over three years.

After a few days at Milanello, Harvey said: 'F*ck sake Clarence, so here I have never thought you could feel this good as a footballer.' You get around the city, you meet with your children, you are like one big family. If I had it like this, I still would've wanted to continue playing football. 'Don't you have a place in the team for me?', Harvey asked jokingly. Seedorf took the joke seriously and asked Ancelotti if there was a local club in the city that could take him on. The Milan coach (Ancelotti) replied that Harvey could train with the Primavera team on the basis of that he really showed will and hunger during this trial period.

The following morning, the staff from Milan Lab came and woke him up at half past seven. They told him about the plans for the next months; wake up early, porridge for breakfast, cooked vegetables for dinner, five hours of training per day, no alcohol and no cigarettes.

For Milan Lab, this was an experiment to see how much a non-professional footballer could withstand. For Harvey, this was a chance to get his life back on track. Some nights he cried himself to sleep, but he was determined to show Ancelotti that he would be able manage this. After four months, Harvey went down 35 kilos and he now weighed 85 kg.

During the following summer of 2004, Milan's vice-president, Adriano Galliani, told Harvey that the club would offer him a first-team contract. A stunned Harvey answered: 'It's the first time in my career someone believes in me - and out of all clubs, that's AC Milan!' Are you joking with me?, asked Harvey to reaffirm the question.

Immediately afterwards, he tells Ancelotti that he has reached his goal and he no longer seems like the worst player in the team. The coach curiously asked Harvey about who in the team he thought was on the same level as him. 'There were actually two players according to him – 'Kaladze and Serginho'. Ancelotti laughed and said, 'Ok, I'm not sure if I agree, but if you think that, that's fine.'

The Dutchman then asked if he could play matches with Milan's A-team. Ancelotti replied that it was the first time he had received such a bizarre request from a Primavera player, but Ancelotti gave him his will. After some matches where Harvey did well with the Primavera team, he was called up to the Coppa Italia game against Palermo, where the match was played at the San Siro.

When Milan were leading and the clock stood on 80 minutes, Ancelotti told Harvey: 'Warm up, you're about to be subbed on.' Harvey, in an ironically way, answered with a smile: 'Of course, mister.' 'I'm serious, you're going to play left back', Ancelotti replied back. When Ambrosini jogged out of the pitch, the big San Siro screen showed a picture of Harvey when he was overweight and San Siro publicum were in ecstasy.

Harvey touched the ball seven times and did not make a single mistake. In one situation, he ran past 4 players on the edge of the pitch and crossed the ball into Jon Dahl Tomasson, who just finished aside of the goal. Every time he touched the ball, the cheers arose from the audience. After the match, he ran honorary rounds for several minutes with San Siro watching him.

The best thing about this story? He got called up for the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul.


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