NURI SAHIN spoke for the civilised world.
Sahin was still distressed, still shaken, still coming to terms with the bomb attack on Borussia Dortmund’s team bus when he was interviewed by Norwegian TV on Wednesday night.
They were not empty words, shallow words, hollow words.
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The Turkish midfielder talked of the moment the explosion hit the Dortmund coach, with broken glass showering the inside of the bus and embedding itself in the embroidered headrests.
It was raw, evocative and highly emotive.
Sahin said: “It (terrorism) was close, but also very far from us. I will never forget these faces in my life.
“When I saw Marc Bartra there, when I sat next to (Marcel) Schmelzer and I saw Schmelzer’s face, it was unbelievable.
“I know football is very important, we love football, we suffer with football.
“I know we earn a lot of money, we have a privileged life, but we are human beings.
There is so much more than football in this world and last night we felt it.”
Sahin made it all very real.
In Madrid, where Atletico had just beaten Leicester 1-0 at the Vicente Calderon, his interview stopped everybody in their tracks.
Sahin is a lone voice in the sport, taking it upon himself to warn of the dangers that a high-profile football match can bring.
Big Champions League nights, with tens of thousands of people heading to iconic stadiums across Europe, are a soft target.
So much joy. So many fears. So many tears.
It is the world we inhabit now, with the constant, menacing threat of another terrorist attack becoming part of our daily routine.
Football always felt immune from it, that terrorism was a political act, a war being waged elsewhere.
Not any more.
The events of the past couple of years — the explosions at the exits of the Stade de France in 2015 — taught us that.
It traumatises people, it shocks them.
Dortmund’s coach Thomas Tuchel explained that they did not want to play Monaco the following day, that it was too soon for his players to come to terms with the attack.
It was an understandable reaction.
Uefa, eager to satisfy sponsors and aware of the scheduling issues in a congested fixture list, told Dortmund the show must go on.
It is a default position, an act of defiance but nobody can ever really be comfortable with it.
Uefa seemed determined to move this on quickly, somehow diluting the seriousness of the attack on Dortmund’s players.
Bartra, recovering from surgery to his wrist after he was hit by one of the fragments from the explosion, will say different.
One day he will speak about the ordeal, the moment when his life flashed before him when he was sitting on that bus.
Sahin’s words echoed around Madrid, with the street bars and cafes full of Atletico supporters talking about his bravery late into the night.
We are conditioned to watching a very different type of interview with footballers in the minutes after they walk off the pitch.
Perhaps that is why Sahin’s words were so striking.
He took the world inside that Dortmund bus with his harrowing account.
The horrors that followed should not be forgotten, however much Uefa try to move this story on.
As they plan for next week’s Champions League quarter-final second legs and beyond, they should take Sahin’s thoughts into consideration.
Terrorism felt far away. But suddenly it is all very close.
ANTONIO CONTE is determined to keep his cool.
Whatever the provocation, whatever Jose Mourinho has up his sleeve for him at Old Trafford on Sunday, Conte is calling the shots now.
The Italian is on the verge of clinching the Premier League title in his first season, something the Special One also achieved in 2005.
Conte has been dignified and respectful all season — a clever strategy that has won over Chelsea fans as they close in on a fifth Premier League crown.
Whatever ‘Judas’ has to say about the three titles he won in his two spells at Stamford Bridge, he belongs in the past now.
His reaction to Manchester United’s defeat in the FA Cup at Chelsea has made damn sure of that.
Mourinho went on the pitch that night, thumping the United crest on the pocket of his club suit in front of their travelling fans in the Shed.
It was another provocative gesture — an emphatic message from Mourinho to Chelsea’s supporters that he is no longer one of them.
He certainly deserved better than a few idiots in the East Stand who were singing “Judas” at him throughout that FA Cup quarter-final.
There is lingering animosity now, bad blood before this weekend’s Premier League clash between United and Chelsea.
At some stage the Special One will blow, rising to the bait from the fans who once worshipped the ground he walked on.
Just don’t expect Conte to join in . . . .
THE constant bickering between Premier League benches could be solved in a heartbeat if they adopted Atletico Madrid’s approach.
Diego Simeone’s dugout is about 40 yards away from rival coaches.
Although he did not shake hands with Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare at the final whistle, at least they did not get into the sort of petty squabbles seen each week in English football.
It also saves the fourth official constantly getting his ear chewed off.
DELE ALLI should be hammering down chairman Daniel Levy’s door for a new contract after another nomination for PFA Young Player of the Year.
Jesse Lingard was nowhere near the list of nominees and yet commands a salary worth up to £100,000 a week after signing a new deal at Manchester United last week.
England’s attacking midfielder Dele, who turned 21 on Tuesday, earns around half that at Tottenham and is at a different level to the United forward.
THE huge shame about Arsene Wenger’s demise at Arsenal is that he has been putting his guts into turning things around at the club.
The commitment of the Frenchman to the Gunners is beyond reproach, working harder than ever behind the scenes to find a solution to their catastrophic run of results.
Unfortunately for Wenger, this is one battle he cannot win.