Chapter 43: Get the National Championships
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
It was not the first time that Liu Peng fell to the ground like this. His sweat made the dust on his body turn into mud.
“Do you still wanna go?” Zhang Jun looked at Liu Peng and said, “You’re experiencing extreme fatigue.”
“Stop! I… can… still stand… It’s not a problem!” Liu Peng was panting heavily as he stood up.
“Why bother? Why do you still want to keep me out? Aren’t we opponents? Since you’re persistent, I’ll let you get up.”
“No! I mustn’t give up!”
That was the scene from the first day they entered the team. He was exhausted and he could not succeed in guarding against Zhang Jun. He could only fall to the ground and watch Zhang Jun’s back again and again.
Later, on the second and third day, he never made a one-on-one match with Zhang Jun. Even after the national championships, he successfully froze the core characters of many teams and was named the best defensive player of the season yet, he still did not have the confidence to compete against Zhang Jun. Perhaps, it was the fear of failure time and time again or maybe, he did not want to see Zhang Jun’s back again. In short, until the end when they were separated, he did not propose to single out Zhang Jun.
He did not expect that in a huge turn of events, his old teammates would have to face him this time and become his opponents today. Although the results were predictable, he could not escape his fate!
This time, he could only look at Zhang Jun’s back as Zhang Jun gently waved his fist. Is it because you don’t want me to be sad that you’re not celebrating? He really was a guy who cared for his people, but this was unnecessary! He was already used to it. He was used to looking at No. 11’s back; looking at him running, looking at him making the shot, looking at him cheering after he scored a goal… It was a very familiar back for three years…
It was almost the end of the match. Kai Ta had no hope of winning, but Shu Guang had not given up their attacks. They were all like a pack of bloodthirsty wolves; looking for a chance to score even more.
Yuan Gang was still trying his best to even the score, but it was difficult for him alone. Many times, among the other defenders, he was helpless as a lone hero.
When he made a pass, his teammates had no strength to catch up to him to receive the ball; when he wanted to shoot, An Ke was always firmly in place, leaving him no chance to score a goal.
Why did he want to become the team’s captain? Even Liu Peng was more suitable for the position. Zhang Jun did not even need to say anything. When he said “walk”, they would follow. Yang Pan would also catch up to Zhang Jun and walk. During middle school, the four of them made their school proud in the national championships. Now, it was only up to him and Liu Peng. The four had now become two. Was Kai Ta still the same Kai Ta from before? They said they would “play together in the national championships?” Even playing soccer together, such a simple desire would be hard to accomplish.
Why did we have to separate from each other? Why couldn’t we happily play soccer together like the good ol ‘ days? Dammit!
This time, Yuan Gang’s inexplicable mistakes made it easier for Shu Guang to wrestle the ball.
Wang Ning intercepted the ball from the middle area and immediately made a forward pass. After Kaka received the ball, he turned and led two steps in front as he passed the ball to Zhang Jun, who was before him.
Suddenly, a figure rushed from behind.
“Yuan Gang?” Yang Pan was astonished at how quickly Yuan Gang returned to the restricted area from the middle of the field.
Liu Peng was “taking care” of Yang Pan and he had no way of getting through in time. The other defenders were also fooled by Yuan Gang’s inexplicable loss of the ball in the front. They did not react for a few moments. Their eyes widened as they witnessed Yuan Gang getting closer and closer to Zhang Jun.
Zhang Jun dashed towards the penalty area but he not going to make it. Yuan Gang had to shovel the ball. But, he was afraid of being fouled and sent off, as that would hurt Zhang Jun…
Yuan Gang then made a tackle from behind.
Loud screams were clearly heard from the crowd. It was your typical action for wounding someone.
At the same time, Zhang Jun lifted his leg to shoot. He kicked the ball with full force! The ball hit the crossbars and bounced into the goal!
Zhang Jun only stumbled slightly but did not fall. He gently waved his fist around because he never had the intention to celebrate. His face did not express any excitement either. He only did it for his teammates, for Su Fei and for the promise he swore to keep. He needed to win the match.
Truth to be told, he was also reluctant meet his former friends with such cruelty. Therefore, after he scored his two goals, his heart did not feel any excitement nor happiness, he felt a little upset instead.
I’m sorry Monkey Yuan and Liu Peng, I’m sorry!
There were only six minutes until the end of the game. As Zhang Jun had secured their victory, the rest of the time left was nothing but a waste.
Yuan Gang however, did not give up until the very end. His teammates, on the other hand, had already given up. They just made soft shots and they had no energy to run anymore. Liu Peng had also given up defending and he went to join the front in attacking, but it was all useless.
Followed by Yuan Gang’s screams and a weak shot, the game ended.
Zhang Jun wanted to find Yuan Gang and Liu Peng to have a good chat after the game ended, but he underestimated the soccer fans and the reporters’ enthusiasm. They were the first to rushed into the field and they surrounded Zhang Jun, preventing him from escaping.
“Zhang Jun, I’m from XX magazine, I would like to ask…”
“Zhang Jun, I’m from XX newspaper…”
“Zhang Jun, can you sign…”
“Zhang Jun!” A loud scream blocked the noise around him.
Zhang Jun turned his head to look. It was Liu Peng.
“Remember what you said?” Liu Peng took off his team uniform, rolled it up into a ball and threw it at Zhang Jun. “Make sure you get to the national championships! Bring Monkey Yuan and me along too!”
A No. 5 soccer shirt, which was filled with sweat and mud was thrown up in the air as the sun shone through it.
Zhang Jun extended his arm and caught the shirt. He then smiled at Liu Peng. “Say hello to Monkey Yuan for me!”
Zhang Jun was surrounded by reporters as well as fans and they followed him as he left the field. Although he did not want to leave early, he could not help himself. With one assist and two goals in the second half, his successful resurrection made him the most dazzling star of the game. He just could not face his current situation.
“He asked me to send his greetings to you,” Liu Peng said.
“He doesn’t know how to greet my Lao Mu?” Yuan Gang said out of nowhere.
Liu Peng rolled his eyes at him. “To greet you. It has nothing to do with any of your female relatives or friends from your home!”
The two of them looked at Zhang Jun, who was leaving in the opposite direction. It was noon. Zhang Jun then said, “I’m sorry, Monkey Yuan.”
“No need to apologize, we still have one more year.”
“We still have one more year? I hope we don’t bump into him the next time…”
“Are you scared, Liu Peng? Looks like your heart’s too soft. Look at me, I bravely made a comeback!”
“You still have the face to say it’s me?! You’re the one who shoveled from the back but didn’t shovel anything!”
“Tsk! So, you saw through it? I thought my performance was successful!”
“Want to give Zhang Jun a call tonight? Honestly, it’s been a year since we last contacted him.”
“A year, huh… So fast…”
Finally getting rid of the annoying reporters and fanatical fans who grabbed onto his shirt, he got into the car. He could now calm down by himself. Zhang Jun rested his head against the seat, placed a towel on his face and shut his eyes.
Su Fei thought of having a talk with Zhang Jun but she was pulled away by Yang Pan. “Don’t disturb him.” He smiled and waved.
Before he scored the second goal, he could clearly feel Yuan Gang’s foot shoveling behind him as he raised his leg to shoot. At that moment, he did not dash or avoid it. He had some expectation that Yuan Gang would block his feet yet, there was nothing. There was no physical contact, no struggle, no loss of heart or body. Then, almost instinctively, he kicked the ball out and it entered the goal.
3: 1. Everyone next to him was cheering, but he did not feel any happiness. That was the first that he felt like this.
Was it worth the joy to defeat your own good friends? Zhang Jun did not know, but he understood something: if he was faced with the same situation next time, he would certainly not hesitate to shoot the ball into the goal and he would give it his all to win. But after scoring and obtaining victory, he would not celebrate or feel happy about it. If it came to this, he would have to do it but he was afraid that his heart would not agree.
He took off his towel and opened his eyes. When he saw Su Fei’s concerned expression, Zhang Jun felt relieved.
“Yang Pan, did you listen to what Liu Peng said?” He gave the front seat a hit.
“He asked you not to forget what he said.”
“What he said?”
“Go get the national championships!”
Yang Pan turned his head and looked at Zhang Jun.
“I finally have a clear goal now.” Zhang Jun smiled. “To get to the national championships.”
Yang Pan stared at him and laughed. “I never forgot about it either!”
That night, the four drunken youths jabbered on about getting to the national championships.
Don’t waste your time!
On the other side.
“Alright, alright, don’t cry. You’re acting like I’m bullying you!”
“But, you are bullying me! You knew what the outcome was going to be yet, you still made a bet with me!”
“Hehe! Loser! You’ll have to treat dinner tonight! My mood is good today, so let’s eat a little more.”