The story of a “stolen” jersey from a heated match between rivals in the Netherlands over the weekend will have a happy ending.
On Sunday, perennial Dutch Eredivisie powerhouses AFC Ajax and Feyenoord faced off in what’s become known over the years as “De Klassieker.” It was a back-and-forth affair, but Ajax sealed the 3-2 win with a goal in the 86th minute by Brazilian winger Antony (seen above holding his shirt up to the crowd in celebration after the goal).
After the final whistle, Antony — who received a yellow card for taking off his shirt to celebrate, then was sent off after getting a second yellow card in stoppage time for time-wasting — made his way over to a section of the crowd in the Johan Cruyff Arena with his jersey in hand. Several children were in the front row of that section; presumably he intended to give the jersey to one of them.
Before he could do so, though, he was embraced by two men standing next to the children. As they hugged and exchanged words, a third man snuck in behind Antony, grabbed the jersey from his hand, and then disappeared into the crowd.
The brazen move led to an outcry on social media against the thief, whose face could clearly be seen as he grabbed the jersey.
In the end, though, the jersey thief did the right thing and returned the shirt to the club on Monday, Dutch media outlets reported. “I regret it. I want to leave it at this, there are already so many messages on the internet,” RTL Nieuws quotes him as saying.
Ajax confirmed the shirt’s return on its website, along with its intent to have Antony sign it when he returns from games with the Brazilian national team and auction it off. The proceeds of the auction will go to Stichting Steun Emma Kinderziekenhuis, a children’s hospital in Amsterdam.
Ajax is still ironing out the details on how supporters will be able to bid on the shirt, and it will provide an update at a later time.
Feature photo courtesy AFC Ajax