When it comes to great things in football, it goes like this, in ascending order:
5. Long-range screamer
4. Bicycle kick
3. Pitch invasion from fans
2. Animal on the pitch
1. Animal on the pitch getting petted by a player.
If you’re thinking “What kind of player wouldn’t pet an animal on the pitch?”, let me introduce you to former Leeds United striker Habib Habibou.
Why am I telling you all of this? You can probably guess.
During last night’s Europa League group game between Macedonian champions FK Vardar and recently-crowned Norwegian title winners Rosenborg, play was stopped by a canine invader.
As Vardar were about to send a free-kick into the Rosenborg box, a husky wandered into the centre-circle, causing what people with less self-control than me have called ‘a paws in play’.
It’s here that we have to take our hats off to goalkeeper Filip Gacevski, who not only wandered up to the husky but placated it with belly rubs.
You can see Gacevski hesitate as he walks up to the dog, as if he’s looking around for someone to ask permission to pet the pup. Or maybe he was just figuring out the logistics of stroking while wearing gloves.
When he realises he doesn’t have to ask anyone, you can see his face light up. From these pictures, it’s clear the goalkeeper is enjoying it just as much as the animal.
The game ended 1-1, with Nicklas Bendtner’s first-half penalty earning the visitors a point, but I know you don’t care about that.
You just want to see more photos of the dog, don’t you?
(Main image: Rex)