As Spain tries to wash off the dirty affair that is El Caso Negreira, a much more heartwarming story has emerged out of the North of Spain this week. Up in Pamplona, Croatian forward Ante Budimir has ensured that he occupies even more of place in Osasuna hearts.
As 78-year-old Mari Carmen Sierra Castillo waited outside, her taxi had not shown up, when she recognised a large figure passing on the street.
“Are you Budimir?”
“Yes, it’s me.”
“Can you do me a favour?”
“Depends on what, ma’am.”
“Look, Budimir. I’m from Osasuna. Can you bring me to the hospital?”
Budimir duly agreed and acted as chauffeur for Mari Carmen, much to her delight.
“Who would’ve thought Mari Carmen would end up in Budimir’s car on the way to the medical appointment that she had scheduled that rainy day in January. My children are not going to believe that you have brought me to the hospital.”
The 31-year-old dropped her off and did not think too much more of it, the story only emerging weeks later through Mari Carmen’s daughter, Myriam. Diario de Navarra recounted the tale.
“Budimir is real. Well done Osasuna, for signing people before signing stars,” said Myriam.
Osasuna are enjoying one of the best moments in their history, with the club functioning well on and off the pitch. It appears to have led to a strong union between fans and the club. While Budimir is not an academy product, club legend and Director of Academy Patxi Punal has explained to Football Espana previously that they place a great emphasis on character and producing rounded people as well as footballers.