An off-the-cuff joke about the referee spoken in Italian led to Sydney United 58 captain Nick Stavroulakis getting one of football’s most prized memorabilia: Carlos Tevez’s first Shanghai Shenhua playing jersey.
United 58, a semi-professional club, squared off against the powerhouse Chinese Super League club last week as part of a week long training camp at Shanghai's state of the art Kangqiao Football Centre.
“We had a bit of laugh about the referee 20 minutes in and one thing led to another and I asked Tevez if it was possible to swap jerseys after the game,” Stavroulakis told the Champion.
“We came off together in the 75th minute and I asked again and he said to meet him in the tunnel after the game and sure enough he came and we exchanged jerseys.”
For the record Shanghai Shenhua won the game 3-0 with Tevez and Nigeria international Obafemi Martins splitting the goals ahead of their Asian Champions League against Brisbane Roar tonight.
For the National Premier League champions, it is week they won’t forget.
“It was a great experience – to use their world-class facilities and play against some of the best players in the world is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Stavroulakis said.