Former Celtic striker Cillian Sheridan has long been a favourite of ours here at Balls.ie, not least for our borderline strange fascination with the county of Cavan, but also because he has been blazing a seldom followed trail for Irish footballers seeking opportunities to play on the continent.
We love having a player to keep an eye on in a league we otherwise wouldn't follow, but it's very rare in this day and age to see someone willing to escape their comfort zone other than say Liam Lawrence at PAOK in Greece, or Darren O'Dea in the Ukraine.
That's why we appreciate Sheridan's journey, which took him from Glasgow, to Bulgria, on to Cyprus, and now to Poland where he has been putting in some impressive performances Jagiellonia Bialystok, and he sat down for an interview with Jonathan Drennan for The Guardian to discuss the highs and lows of his travels.
It was there that he revealed what it's like to find yourself playing at the Nou Camp in an important game, and even admitted that in the heat of battle he told none other than Lionel Messi to 'fuck off'.
You play in a situation like that and it’s almost like it’s too much for your brain to process. The Nou Camp is an incredible place, because you actually have to climb up into the stadium. You feel like you’re going into a coliseum with all of the noise. Then there’s the surreal part: you’re in the tunnel, there’s Neymar, there’s Messi, you name it, but it’s funny, once the whistle blows, you forget yourself. I remember getting annoyed at something in the game and telling the player to fuck off. Then, when you come off the pitch you realise you’ve inadvertently told Lionel Messi to fuck off. You just lose yourself.
Sheridan was referring to the time he played for Apoel Nicosia at the Nou Camp in the Champions League group stage, and admitted that having seen the recent image that did the rounds on social media of Leo Messi's jersey collection which included some of his former teammates' jerseys, he wished he asked the great man himself.
I never ask to swap jerseys, because it’s happened twice. First I was playing for Celtic at Old Trafford and I gestured to Ronaldo after the game. He just said something in Portuguese which I understood to mean sorry mate it’s taken. Then, years later for Apoel against Barcelona, I tried the same with Piqué. The same response, just in Spanish. It obviously wasn’t meant to be.
The Cavanman bagged six goals in 12 appearances for Jagiellonia since moving in February and has proven to be a popular signing amongst the fans, so hopefully he continues that form next season and we continue to have a reason to keep an eye out for the scores from the Ekstraklasa.
You can read Sheridan's interview in full over on The Guardian.