Alex Ovechkin is a huge fan of soccer. From his fanhood of Spain’s historic club FC Barcelona to suiting up for FC Moscow Dynamo this summer, Ovechkin’s love of the sport is well documented.
Earlier this week, Ovechkin spoke at a Fonbet event in Moscow and spoke about famous soccer players he knows. Ovi, according to RIA Novosti, name-dropped two former Barca, now Paris Saint-Germain forwards. First, the legendary and incomparable Lionel Messi and later the uber-talented Neymar.
“There was an opportunity to get to know Messi with Neymar,” Ovechkin said to RIA Novosti and per a Google translation. “Messi speaks English worse than me, it was easier with Neymar. By the way, he is a hockey fan.”
Ovi has publicly met both players in the past and exchanged jerseys, balls, autographs, and even cleats in the case of Neymar. In celebration of his 1,000th NHL game, his Capitals teammates even got together and bought him a vacation to Barcelona to see Messi play.
Ovechkin met Messi in March of 2015 after Argentina beat El Salvador 2-0 in an international friendly match. That match was highlighted in the media for the fact that stadium personnel played the national anthem for the Isle of Man instead of El Salvador’s.
Ovechkin met Neymar in similar fashion, without the anthem mixup, in September of 2018 after Brazil beat El Salvador 5-0 in another friendly at FedEx.
Ovi also revealed he’s not a big fan of soccer’s diving or flopping to draw a whistle. It’s sometimes referred to as a “simulation” on the soccer field.
“Simulations? I don’t welcome them, but everyone has their own style,” Ovechkin said. “Of course, there are hockey players who feign injuries, but this is not the same as in football.”
Both sports have plenty of play-acting, but soccer normally shares the brunt of the complaints about it as it has become more and more just part of the game.
Headline photo via @aleksandrovechkinofficial/Instagram
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