AIK Solna forgot to bring Celso Borges's kit for what may have been his last game for the club ahead of a move to France; Sujay Dutt assesses the Costa Rica midfielder.
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Reaching the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil put Costa Rica's players in the shop window; goalkeeper Keylor Navas has signed for Real Madrid CF, with AIK Solna midfielder Celso Borges seemingly on the move too.
The 26-year-old is in negotiations to join a French club, though confusion reigned on Monday night after the AIK player was not listed in the squad for their Allsvenskan match at IFK Göteborg, with most assuming he was already heading south. With the team having taken the 10.14 train to Gothenburg, Borges followed them on a 14.00 flight, causing considerable consternation for the club's kit man Åke Andersson, who had not brought his strip.
"We made phone calls to the pubs [around the stadium] and a supporter had a jersey," a relieved Andersson said. "It was missing some advertising but we stuck a badge on it."
"I'm happy to be able to help the team I love," said the generous supporter – named by Sportsbladet newspaper only as Luis. "It was my fault," added AIK coach Andreas Alm, whose side welcome FC Astana in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round on Thursday with the score at 1-1. "When I was told that Celso would be available, I forgot to inform the kit manager. We need to thank Luis for giving Celso the chance to shine."
The AIK No10 has shone consistently since 2009, when he left Deportivo Saprissa for Norwegian side Fredrikstad FK, moving on to AIK in 2012. A headed 90th-minute winner in his second game, at Kalmar FF, ensured Borges was pretty much an instant hit with the Swedish club, although – as with the national team – he has morphed from out-and-out forward to midfield dynamo since arriving.
Now capped 66 times, his profile rose substantially as he featured in all five of Costa Rica's matches in Brazil, his hard-running style mirroring the kind of commitment that has endeared him to fans in Sweden. He has scored four goals and provided five assists for AIK this term, with his 130,000-plus followers on Twitter testimony to his popularity both in the Scandinavian country as well as Costa Rica.
During Monday's IFK game, the television commentator described him as one of the "top three" players in the Allsvenskan. AIK won 2-0 with Borges playing all 90 minutes as his side maintained second place in the table. Luis is hoping – perhaps vainly – that the match was not Borges's last in an AIK shirt. "I hope he stays," the fan said. "I've always liked him."