Every evening that cap was with one of our national team members in the room and I imagine how that energy helped in his recovery!

Ćiro Blažević, who died on Wednesday at the age of 88, told us this once.

The cap he wore at the end of the 1998 World Cup is certainly one of the details that marked his career. It was the cap of the French policeman Daniel Nivel, who was beaten by German hooligans rampaging in the streets before one of the World Cup matches. He was in a coma and doctors were fighting for his life.

After the attack, Nivel was left blind in one eye and never worked again. Today he is 68 years old, lives in a place about 50 kilometers from Lille and cannot take care of himself, and together with Fifa, his family opened a humanitarian foundation. Four hooligans were arrested and sentenced to three and a half to ten years in prison.

Photo: S. Hančić

And how did the cap end up with Ćira?

– French police officers were constantly guarding us during training sessions during the World Cup. And the commander of the police watched one of our training sessions and asked me to talk. He told me that he was watching me prepare the team, that he thought I was an unusual person, and he asked me to wear the cap of his victim Nivel, who was in a coma – said Ćiro.

He did not, he admitted, agree immediately.

Photo: Siniša Hančić/Pixsell

– I told him that I would answer him the next day because I knew that I had to ask Franja Tuđman if I could wear a French cap on the Croatian bench. The president approved it and since then I have had it at every game. That hat was walking around with everyone, with Boban, Šuker… And, imagine the miracles, the man woke up from his coma and came to Zagreb after the championship to thank me.

It was a gesture that thrilled the whole world. “Vatreni”, as a new football force, earned the sympathy of a large part of the world, people in all corners of the planet heard about Croatia because of Šuker, Boban and company. And Ćiro with a cap remained one of the pictures for eternity from France in 1998.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!