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Chapter: 19


Alcorcon’s number 19 and Pecardt ran straight towards the penalty box. 

Our eyes met, but I missed the timing for a perfect pass. 

I didn’t have the confidence to make a proper pass. 

From behind, two midfielders came in as soon as they regained their stance, and from the front, the left central defender blocked my shooting angle. 

"Kim!" 

Cedris, who shouted loudly, climbed to the sideline from the right and entered the long-range. 

My brain was completely blank. 

My Instinct beeps repeatedly saying that the ball should not be passed. 

It seemed like a warning not to even think of making a long pass, so I hesitated until the moment I was surrounded again by the opposing midfielders who came running from behind. 

Alcorcon players were trying to scratch and pinch not only with their feet but also with their hands, while they were trying to prevent me from entering the penalty box by any means they could. 

The moment I lose speed, my lower body’s center of gravity will become messed up, and at that moment I think I will definitely lose the ball in my possession, so the two midfielders next to me followed along and entered the penalty box. 

The opponent’s central defender quickly got closer. 

With the left and right being blocked, there is nowhere to go. 

Being caught between the midfielders, it was very difficult to display a faint using the upper body, let alone keep possession of the ball. 

The momentum of the players who were blocking the front is horrendous. 

I now regret ever promising to give a pass for Castro to score a goal.

Now there’s really nowhere to give a pass. 

However, finishing with a shot is also too difficult, since the midfielders on either side are too close. 

Tackles will come in from both sides as soon as I take the shooting stance. 

Still, if I were to think about it the other way around, it would really take a long time. 

Having reached the inside of the opponent’s penalty area, the chance of a fatal counterattack is slimming down. 

Since I’ve come this far, I can only take it to the finish line. 

As soon as I thought that I felt less burdened. 

Soon my change in strategy turned out to be a good move. 

However, the problem was the shooting angle, which was completely blocked. 

The keeper’s fingertips were barely visible. 

The reason I didn’t think about passing the ball between the legs of the defenders is that I can’t kick it without a proper posture, so I’m going to try shooting the ball quickly with my toes with a short movement. 

My eyes secretly passed between the legs of Alcorcon’s central defender. 

Oh, I am such an idiot. 

In the professional world, there is no easy place, even if it is a second division. 

Alcorcon’s central defender already noticed that I was going to shoot between his legs. 

It was intuition. 

With even the last option blocked, there are only two steps ahead for me to collide with the opposing central defender, my steps on both feet had a different movement. 

Now even I can’t help it. 

F*ck. 

Let’s go for it. 

Using the inside of my left foot I caught the ball between both feet and moved it over to the heel of my right foot. 

Before the ball went out of control, I bent the knee of my right foot and pushed it straight behind my body to send the ball straight into the goal. 

This was the best way I could choose right now. 

I just hope that the goalkeeper whose sight was blocked doesn’t react to it quickly. 

The official La Liga ball flew into the sky like a dragonfly, avoiding three opponents. 

Alcorcon’s midfielder on the right and the left got tangled and fell on the grass, but my head still followed the track of the ball. 

As if it was creating a rainbow, the ball traces a parabolic trajectory toward the left corner of the goal. 

It seemed to float too high, and it seemed to move too slowly, so I got anxious that the goalkeeper might catch up to it. 

Regardless of my fear, the goalkeeper’s gloves did not appear until the last moment as I saw the disappearance of the rainbow from my vision. 

It’s at that moment the cheers of Las Palmas fans began to fill the gaps about the result of the ball that had disappeared from my vision. 

"Eyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-!!!!!" 

"Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww~!!!!" 

My heart sank deep when I felt the battle was over, my body felt as heavy as cotton that got soaked into the water. 

Some of the Las Palmas fans are stomping on their seats and cheering, while others are hugging each other on the ground and running around in place, but this goal is just… really lucky. 

It was just luck that had nothing to do with my skills. 

"What are you doing! You madman!" 

"……" 

"You scored a goal!!" 

"I was Lucky……." 

Before I could say anything, Las Palmas players approached me and crushed me below. 

I thought I had graduated from the crushing games since elementary school, but I was wrong.

By the time the players returned to camp, Inigo came to me and patted me on the shoulder, and teased me for saying that my body was in bad shape. 

I answered with a small smile without saying a word. 

Naturally, there is nothing like a miraculous change in rhythm that has happened with a lucky goal. 

There had been five touch mistakes in nearly 30 minutes. 

The number of failed passes came out beyond the count of one hand. 

Except for scoring one goal, it was the worst match I have ever played since my debut. 

What’s worse than not being able to pass the ball is that I’ve almost provided Alcorcon with a good starting point for a counterattack. 

When I should be celebrated for scoring a goal, the Las Palmas players often looked at me with resentful eyes due to my mistakes.

"Kim, Manager Pepe is screaming." 

"I’m sorry, I didn’t hear him." 

"Be more active." 

Cedris, who plays on the right side of the stadium, received the bench’s opinion and came to inform me. 

I can’t bear to look at the Las Palmas bench. 

The scene of the Manager’s screaming passed in my head.

Was it a stupid choice to make a drastic change in the training?

For the first time since the game began, Alcorcon’s winger managed to gain some space from Bella. 

Based on his physique, the opposing winger pushed Bella out on the shoulder fight and connected it for a cross.

That ball successfully bounced back far away due to Aitami’s header. 

That ball landed on the half-line, about three steps from where Alcorcon’s midfielder took possession of the ball. 

As soon as the opponent received the ball, I boldly rushed in and attempted a sliding tackle. 

It wasn’t a back tackle, nor did I enter with my feet up, but the opposing midfielder screams and falls. 

"Get up. Are you okay?" 

"Yeah." 

Harvey Casteyano grabbed my outstretched hand and I got up from the ground.

The referee sees VAR and passes a verbal warning. 

There is no attack, no defense, nothing to unravel properly.

Alcorcon’s free-kick. 

I jumped into the Las Palmas camp as if I was going to stick with the opponent’s central defense in the penalty box. 

But I ended up watching from a distance, due to my small height, which makes it difficult for me to compete with others for the air ball.

The spinning ball went into the penalty box in an instant. 

Aitami and David missed to stop Alcorcon’s No. 14 player from jumping to the front, but with a fine difference, the ball popped into the grass without reaching anyone. 

Goalkeeper Martinez is also concerned about the opponent’s striker, so he can’t just follow the trajectory of the ball properly. 

The ball, which flew without any refraction, hit the inside of the left goal post and returned to the right of the goal post. 

Alcorcon’s No. 6, who was in the penalty box for the set-piece, kicked with his foot and put the ball lightly into the goal. 

Aitami and David raise their hands to claim offside, but the decision is not overruled.

The score is 1-1. 

I wanted to spit out a swear word, but in the end, I didn’t say it. 

It was like spitting in my face. 

It was around the 40th minute of the first half when the equalizing goal came in, and the game became rather sluggish. 

Except for Bella being warned for using the elbow, both teams spent time exchanging offensive stances without anything special.

When the referee whistled at the end of the first half, I realized that I have been more exhausted than I thought.

On the way back to the locker room, my legs were shaking so much that it became so hard to walk properly. 

As soon as I open the door and enter, I ask the therapist for a calf massage.

I covered my head with a towel to keep the guilt from leaking onto my face. , 

Soon Manager Pepe entered the room, 

"Okay. 1-1 is not bad. Alcorcon is also a mid-tier team, right? David and Aitami are doing well. We were a little unlucky with the goal, hahaha." 

The manager said as if it was nothing special, but the atmosphere in the locker room was not good. 

If not, It’s probably because I’m not in a good mood. 

Not being able to do my part is the worst. 

It’s annoying to the extent that I felt the players staring at me, but I think I’m the greatest asshole, as I was looking for excuses back and forth in my head. 

I felt extremely tired. 

I pushed away Curbelo’s hand, which was handing out the energy bar and drinks. 

"But you guys, aren’t you too harsh?" 

"why?" 

"Mark is focused completely on Kim, the youngest member of the team. Why didn’t you guys go and help?" 

Manager Pepe’s words were outrageous. 

All mistakes are ultimately my responsibility. 

Excusing, resenting, and criticizing here and there are only words that come out of the mouths of people I don’t like. 

I know in my head that the Manager is trying to conceal my mistakes, but what I felt in my heart was something different from gratitude. 

"Where did the forward press at the beginning of the first half go? If the line doesn’t come up, the strikers will inevitably be isolated." 

I got up from my seat before the Manager had finished speaking. 

All I could do was mumble to go to the bathroom in a hoarse voice. 

I splashed the water on my stretched head in the bathroom. 

If it wasn’t for a substitution, I would have come back to the ground with my mind straight. 

After a while, there was a knock on the bathroom door. 

"Kim, you have to leave now." 

"Okay." 

Head coach Roberto Rios walked forward without saying a word. 

The players have already headed to the ground, so only Manager Pepe remained in the locker room. 

Head coach Rios followed the Manager’s glance and left the locker room. 

There are only empty beverage bottles and shin guards left behind by the players. 

Manager Pepe and I were the only ones in the room now, 

"Let’s talk for a minute." 

I had nothing to say even if I heard the reprimand. 

I was disappointed in my own performance, I even avoided my seat during the halftime of the meeting. 

It was a stupid thing I did because I couldn’t control my own emotions. 

I always regret one step later. 

"Lo siento." 

Manager Pepe apologizes. 

"I was too impatient. I must have gotten greedy because you were so good. I should have approached you with a more delicate and leisurely time. I’m really sorry." 

"…I don’t know why you’re apologizing. This is my problem."     

"no. This is not your problem. You showed the best you could do in a chaotic situation. Kim, raise your head. Don’t look down." 

What should I say? 

I was worried that the words will jump out without thinking. 

"You scored an amazing goal. Have some confidence. Any of your opponents will be upset and will not be able to sleep properly if they see you like this." 

"It was just luck." 

"Hahaha, luck is also skill at the professional level. Don’t say that in front of other players, because if they hear that, they will be repenting it countless times." 

Manager Pepe’s thick hands rested on my shoulders. 

"Are you tired?" 

"little." 

"Would you like me to replace you?" 

"What do you think, Manager?" 

"I wish you could run a little more." 

Despite my broken condition and low self-confidence, the Manager’s words sounded sweet. 

There was no doubt that this person was really taking good care of me, as he says, and at least he doesn’t want to get rid of me. 

"Sometimes this is an experience. It’s also important to know what to do when you’re not in good shape." 

"I want Las Palmas to win." 

"Okay." 

"Honestly, I’m not sure." 

"right. You could ruin this game. I won’t replace you though. At least not unless you raise your hand first. I believe in your potential and skills. There are things that only you can do, even in the worst circumstances." 

"What is that?" 

"You have to go and find it yourself." 

Manager Pepe lets out his characteristic chuckle again, 

"Go and be free. Everything I put on the blackboard over there is bullshit. I just put you in there because the attacking midfielder’s seat is empty. Don’t put yourself in that place. Go where you can do it well." 

"Yeah, I’ll try." 

"Do you remember what I said last time?" 

Manager Pepe burst into laughter once more at my bewildered expression of not knowing what to say and then opened his mouth. 

"You choose. If you can’t choose first, at least let them choose the way you want them to. Except for this, you can forget everything I said last time." 

"Si… I think I have to leave now." 

"Okay." 

After full 15-minute halftime, I returned to the ground. 

My body was still heavy, but my heart felt slightly lighter. 

My head is full of worries. 

What should I do? 

How can I do my part?

"Que?" 

[Apologizing to an adult.] 

"Speak Spanish. What are you saying."

When I mumbled in Korean, Pedri couldn’t understand and grumbled. 

As my attitude changes, my mind becomes clearer. 

Manager Pepe’s words were more effective than the water poured over my head. 


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