A room from where the palm trees and the training ground can be seen from the window. 

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When I knocked on the door and entered, Manager Pepe was sitting with a document in his hand. 

“Did you warm up?” 

“Yes, sir.” 

“Sit comfortably.
Do you want a cup of tea?” 

“I’m fine with just water.” 

“Okay.” 

Manager Pepe took a glass bottle out of the refrigerator and mixes it with warm water from the water purifier to make lukewarm water. 

“…I called you today to talk about a few things.” 

In life, you may naturally encounter a moment of silent hesitation that cannot be hidden from the other person, which is usually a sign for a bad or burdensome story. 

That’s what Manager Pepe is showing now. 

“Why? Is something wrong, Manager?” 

“No, well.
It’s nothing serious.
You had a checkup at the medical center before you got back from an injury, right? We got the results.” 

Manager Pepe took out some papers. 

Is he trying to tell me that I have a problem with my ankle again? 

Do they want me to do another surgery? 

I didn’t even have any pain. 

“Your body is very healthy.
After removing the bone pieces, it actually got better.
However…”

On the paper that Manager handed me, there were many words that I didn’t understand, but there were many words that I could understand too. 

Introverted and less talkative, lack of trust in a person, fear of failure, loneliness, disconnection, etc. 

“Are you saying that my psychology test is a problem?” 

“I never said it was a problem.
Don’t skip anything and read more.” 

I have mild trauma symptoms and fear of delaying decisions and making choices. 

How can they write down such bad things? 

“Don’t frown.
It’s okay.
It’s not a big deal.’ 

“I think it’s a big deal.
If I were a Manager, it would bother me.” 

“Kim, it’s only been a year since you came here… Is there anyone else except your father with whom you can talk to?” 

The sunlight entering through the window is dazzlingly bright. 

Manager Pepe continued while stroking his bulging belly. 

“I have been a coach for a long time.
I’ve met a lot of players with various personalities – not all of them are perfect.
I have met many people with more unique personalities than you.” 

Manager Pepe showed a variety of facial expressions. 

He looked annoyed as well as happy. 

“Everyone has different ideas and concerns, so I wouldn’t easily advise anyone, but I always recommended getting counseled by an expert.
And most of the time, it has worked out.
Sometimes even strong-looking athletes need counseling.
In the river of life…” 

“You want me to get counseling?” 

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“Well, yeah.
I want you to go for counseling.
I’m not forcing you.
Because I don’t want to.
Even if you refuse, there will be no problem in our relationship.
The same goes for the game.” 

Manager Pepe pats the top of his head and looks at my reaction like an owl observing food. 

What should I say? 

It was too sudden to decide right away. 

“I think it would be nice to think about it over.
What do you say? Just think about it.”

“I understand.” 

“Okay.” 

I sat on the chair while looking at the psychological diagnosis report, written in a way saying the fact that I am messed up.

“And one more thing.
Look at what it says here.
Do you know this word?” 

“fracaso.
Opposite of success – FAILURE.”

“Yeah, it says you’re afraid of failure.
Hahaha.
Look at the expression on your face.” 

Coach Pepe approaches the desk, turns the computer monitor sideways, and pulls a file from the bookshelf. 

He then approached me and sat next to me. 

In Manager Pepe’s hand, there was a file of documents that said “Kim KY” in capital letters.

“Flores arranged it for you.
You know our analyst, right?” 

“Um, yes.” 

“Flores is a big fan of yours.” 

“Lie.” 

“Did he not show it? Ha-ha.” 

Manager Pepe, who laughed with a strange nasal sound, raised his hand and pointed to the monitor. 

“You’re afraid of failure.
Let’s talk more about this.
What’s on the monitor right now is before Fuenlanrada, the last game.
Remember? The game that was completed by a hat trick with your dribble.” 

“Yeah.” 

Inside the monitor was me in a yellow uniform. 

I can’t help but notice. 

After the game, I received the video from the analyst and watched it at home every day. 

It’s 4 minutes and 30 seconds with only a ball touch.
Do you see the whole stadium at a glance?”

“Yeah.” 

“Let’s talk after seeing everything.” 

A ball from the back, drops to Castro who made a cross with two touches, and then it rolled towards me as I dribbled into the center from the right. 

Fuenlabrada’s defender passes into the front space of Srnich, who comes up before entering a cooperative defense, at least the first scene has no problem according to my standards. 

No one could do better than that. 

The video got cut off, and in the second scene. 

I exchanged a one-two pass with Alvaro, who came up while overlapping. 

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With one touch, the pass went into the right space, Alvaro’s cross went into the penalty box, and Castro and Srnich tried to own the ball, but the opponent’s central defender cleared it with his head. 

“If you look at each scene, there’s no big problem.” 

Third scene 

It was me dribbling. 

In the center, I break down the opponent’s midfielder’s center and penetrate the space. 

As I broke the opponent’s balance, I advanced more than 10 meters without any resistance and passed the ball into Castro’s space. 

Castro’s shot slightly deviates from the left side of the net. 

“Now that’s a goal scene.” 

The latter part of the video consisted of the processes through which I recorded a hat trick. 

The last goal was a dribble goal that forced the center defenders into the penalty box. 

Manager Pepe stops the video and turns around to make eye contact. 

“Kim, what do you think of your play?” 

“I don’t think it’s bad.” 

“Yeah, you’re doing great.
But all I’m saying is, how can you play better? Have you ever thought about it?” 

“I think about it every time after a game.” 

A wrinkled hand approaches the knee and opens the document file. 

“There will be a record for each game.
Let’s see what kind of stats you’ve got in each game.” 

“Si.” 

“Pass including both replacements and starts = 96 percent success rate, 100 percent success rate for dribbling, 12 dribbling attempts.
opportunity creation 10 times There are 13 shots out of 14 shots.
Scored a total of 10 goals.”

It sounded pretty good. 

But I didn’t understand the Manager’s attitude, who had a serious expression on his face. 

I think that’s a pretty good indicator for a league debut. 

Recognizing my vague expression, Manager Pepe opened his mouth with a small smile. 

“How’s the record?” 

“Well.
Honestly, I’m not sure what’s wrong.” 

“You like it too much.” 

“That’s the problem?” 

“No.
It’s good that you scored 10 goals, and it’s good that you have a high pass success rate and dribble success in the front line.
And the ability to create chances and have effective shots.” 

“Why is that a problem? I don’t understand.” 

Instead of answering, Manager Pepe got up and played the next video on the computer. 

“Let’s talk while watching your goal against Zaragoza.
You’re avoiding offside and scoring a goal by breaking the line, Right.” 

“Yeah.” 

“Why did you go so far?” 

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“Because if the uniform is caught, it will slow me down.” 

Manager Pepe’s black eyes were facing me as if he could see through my lies at any time. 

“I wanted to distance myself from being fouled.” 

“Is that all?” 

“…Yes.” 

“Look at this record.
Five games, four times you’ve competed directly with the defender in the penalty box.
It’s lower than Castro or Pecardt’s one-game number.” 

Only then did I realize what the Manager was trying to say. 

Was I afraid of competing with opponents? 

Is that what he wanted to say? 

It is true that there has been an unconscious avoidance of contention so far. 

“I will actively fight from now on.” 

“Kim, I don’t mean a physical fight.
You saw it in the psychological test results earlier.
You are afraid of failure.”

“I don’t understand what you want to say.
What do you want me to do?” 

Manager Pepe didn’t answer right away but took out a candy from the aluminum can on his desk. 

“Don’t make yourself altruistic due to the fear of failure.” 

Am I altruistic? 

“I want you to be a little more selfish.
I wish you were a player who was more greedy on the field.
Taking risks is something everyone fears.
But you don’t play in central midfield like Inigo.
As a front-line striker – you have to make full use of your talent, and I think you’re not just a player who plays like this.” 

“……..”

“Considering the last dribble in the match against Fuenlabrada.
Kim, You are not afraid of competing with the opponent.
You are afraid of losing the ball because of your lack of confidence in the physical.
That’s what I think? Was there a misunderstanding in this?’ 

“…no, I think it’s as you said.”  

To be honest, I had no excuse for this, I felt a complex feeling that was upsetting and refreshing. 

“There are many good players on the side.
You know?” 

“Yeah.” 

“On the other hand, there are only a few players who are good in the center field throughout the era.
I want you to be that kind of player.
No, it’s definitely gonna happen.
Be more active! It’s okay to fail.
If there is no choice but to make a set of mistakes in every game, you should make a mistake as a front-line striker instead of a defender or midfielder.” 

Manager Pepe continues his passionate persuasion as if his earlobe was on fire. 

And surprisingly, the persuasion seems meaningful. 

It wasn’t wrong. 

If someone has to make a mistake, it might be better for me to make a mistake as a front-line striker. 

“You’re the Prince of Las Palmas, aren’t you? Why does a prince care about people in the lower ranks? Play your game.
Boldly! Arrogantly! It doesn’t matter if you stay silent outside the stadium.
But not inside the field.
Don’t be timid.
You choose first.
If you can’t, at least make the other person choose the way you want.” 

“Yeah.
I know what you mean.” 

“Okay! That’s how you do it! Selfishly! You know! Well, that’s it! I’m done talking!”  

Manager Pepe smiled as if he was satisfied with my answer. 

Was he done with what he wanted to say? 

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Manager Pepe, who stopped laughing, glanced at his watch and said he will give me a ride in his car, saying it was too late. 

The sun was falling below the horizon. 

“Wait a minute.
Let’s quickly scan and send the document and go.
I’ll take you to the front of your house.” 

“Si.” 

     

Next day

I wish I could have changed my style as Manager asked me to, but my play habits can’t be magically changed overnight. 

“Haha, I blocked it again!” 

“Do it again.” 

Aitami said with his arms folded with a cheerful expression. 

As the desire to play as a team cannot be suppressed, the level of individual tactics naturally decreased. 

Coaches can’t be unaware of this unless they feel it for themselves. 

A training ground goal post is chartered, and the 3:1 training continues. 

There were coaches on both sides and in the center wearing yellow vests was me, but what I had to do was breakthrough. 

Shoulder and arm bumping, uniform stretching and bruising on shins and insteps. 

It was easy to dribble through three people, but on the contrary, it was not easy to pierce through three people. 

Before Aitami’s standing tackle enters, I change the direction to create a space and take a shooting action near the box. 

David, who was playing cooperative defense, moves his body to the front. 

I was fooled. 

I tried to accelerate the ball to pass, but my soccer shoes suddenly came under my feet and I lost my balance and fell. 

“F*ck.”

“No swear words, haha.
Well done Mantovani.” 

It was Mantovani who tackled. 

The Argentine veteran is playing with my personal tactics with as much detail as the actual game. 

Doesn’t the word “experienced” exist for that person? 

I raised my body while spitting out the grass in my mouth. 

“You have too many thoughts.”

“It’s not like that.”

“That’s not the speed of the canary prince I know…Uh, don’t stare.” 

Aitami said an unfortunate thing but he was not wrong. 

I didn’t organize my mind well. 

If it’s going to be a difficult fight, I always try to avoid it. 

Throughout my short life, I’ve always been like that.

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