Jermaine Defoe has launched his Toronto FC career off to a fantastic start goals-wise, but his camaraderie with team-mates at the MLS side was cast into a huge shadow of doubt this weekend in a blow-up with Gilberto.
The former Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth hit-man has scored 9 goals in 8 appearances for the Canadian club and he felt the impressive record gave him a right of propriety over the free kick that he earned in yesterday’s game. Brazilian striker, Gilberto, disagreed with his assessment of the situation though and proved his point in emphatic fashion.
The 31-year-old Londoner was brought down as he dribbled towards the New York Red Bulls penalty area, but with 2 defenders square ahead of Defoe the danger was perhaps nullified and the trip unnecessary.
Up he gets to discover that Gilberto has picked up the ball and seems to have it in his mind that he will be taking the resulting free-kick. Goalless to date in his 9 appearances for Toronto, Gilberto paled in comparison as a scoring threat compared with Defoe, who had 7 in his previous 8 games and one already in this game.
The altercation was really all the Englishman, arguing and swearing and even hitting the ball out of Gilberto’s hands. The Brazilian remained calm and placed the ball in place, oblivious to the ranting and cursing being thrown his way.
Defoe walked away, still in a strop, as Gilberto lined up his strike. The free-kick was hit with immense force, just to the left of the wall and the keeper, Luis Robles, barely even saw it coming before it was in the back of his net.
On witnessing the remarkable strike, Defoe immediately changed his tune and a Cheshire Cat sized grin engulfed his face. The frustration at being left out of the World Cup squad may have been a factor, especially considering the way Defoe has always been one who disagreed with any manager that didn’t opt for his services.
If you omit Rooney, Defoe has scored more England goals than the entire World Cup squad’s strikers put together, so it could be argued that he has a case. In his national side appearances last year he had a 66% scoring record and he also scored the first international hat-trick at Wembley after the re-opening.
As for Gilberto’s insistence at taking the free-kick in question though; he certainly silenced his critics. His biggest one coming straight to him with a make-up hug and special handshake.