My “behind-the-scenes” trip of Maxis’ upcoming World Cup advertising campaign wasn’t just about stalking Lionel Messi in Barcelona.I was lucky enough to also travel to London and Liverpool in England.
The second leg of the assignment in London was great because I finally got to watch a live English Premier League match; and with corporate hospitality at Stamford Bridge, no less.
I got a three-course meal before the game, unlimited champagne, dessert and tea at half-time and most importantly, great seats to the Chelsea vs Bolton match, just below where Roman Abramovich is usually clapping away like a giddy kid. I couldn’t help cheering whenever Bolton almost scored though.
However, and I know this is going to make me sound like a jack@$$, my dream is still to watch an EPL game at Old Trafford. No amount of champagne will change that.
After the game, we went to a restaurant and this tall German-speaking guy came in and sat on the table right behind me.
I said to one of the Chelsea people who were with us: “Wow, that German dude sure looks like Michael Ballack.”
He replied: “Err…. That is Michael Ballack. And look, it’s Petr Cech over there,” he said nonchalantly.
Indeed it was, and it was surreal.
It got even better the following day, when I was told that Frank Lampard was up for an interview after his shoot for the same campaign. Messi didn’t do any interviews.
Some of you would have read the Lampard interview in R.AGE a few weeks ago, where Frank called Messi the best player ever, Xavi the toughest midfield opponent he’s played against, and Spain the favourites for the World Cup.
One of the highlights of the trip, however, was NOT meeting Fernando Torres.
It’s not because I don’t like the fact that he plays for Liverpool, though I don’t like the fact that he plays for Liverpool – he’s just so damn good.
It’s because while we were waiting at the studio in Liverpool for the shoot to start, we were told that he was at the doctor’s, having his knee injury checked. So when they said that the shoot was cancelled (along with my interview, unfortunately), I knew it must have been because of his knee, and I could be the first person in the world to report it!
I went snooping around, and some of the people organising the shoot confirmed that he needed surgery on his knee, which would effectively rule him out of Liverpool’s remaining fixtures and put his World Cup hopes in jeopardy.
It was pretty funny, because a crew member was going around with one of Torres’ cue cards which said “I’m sorry I can’t be with you now. But you will see me in South Africa”.
Of course, he still has every chance of making the World Cup now. He had the surgery just in time for him to recover for the tournament, but unfortunately he won’t be back to full fitness yet. I read somewhere that he’s working six hours a day to try and get himself as sharp as possible for Spain’s push for the title.
Anyway, I tweeted the news about the surgery via @thestar_rage, and started typing a story furiously on my iPhone (not the most fun thing to do) hoping R.AGE would be the first to break a story on it.
And as far as Google News can tell us, we succeeded. The headline was a bit sensational (“Torres might be out of the World Cup!”), but it was true at the time =P
Yes, it was an awesome trip. And to think that if Mount Eyjaf[fillintheblanks] in Iceland had erupted a week earlier, I would’ve missed it all …
* Special thanks to Bonnie Yap for all the awesome photos, and for keeping me company throughout the volcanic ash cloud crisis =)
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