It isn't unusual for someone to have a beer (or 20) before a football match, but that someone usually isn't usually a participant sitting on the bench. Yet, cameras caught Celta Vigo midfielder Enrique de Lucas having a small beer before his side's 4-1 loss to Sevilla on Monday -- a game in which he entered as a substitute in the 75th minute.
Before you assume the former Chelsea man is in need of an intervention, consider that he might have been drinking something like Erdinger Alkoholfrei -- a Bavarian non-alcoholic beer that is positioned as a sports drink. "The company touts the beverage as an isotonic, vitamin-rich, no-additive beverage with natural regenerative powers that help athletes recover from a workout," says the AP. "In other words, it's carbohydrate-loaded refreshment without the alcoholic buzz of beer or the jitters caused by some energy drinks."
Judging by how open De Lucas was about his drink, it didn't seem like he felt he was doing anything wrong. And if it was a regular beer, he probably would have had to answer to someone. In his autobiography, Spanish international Pepe Reina revealed that the biggest argument he ever had with former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was over his desire to have a post-match brew. Reina wrote (via The Mirror):
"We had lost 2-1 at Besiktas and not played too well. I decided to have a beer.
"I don't see a problem with that, because for me it is healthier to do that than it is to have a glass of Coca-Cola or a drink like that.
"Suddenly, the bartender turned up and said, 'The club doctor, the medical staff and the manager have made it clear to me that they do not want you to have a beer.'
"I asked Rafa what was going on and he said I was forbidden from having a beer.
"I still don't know why this was the case but, whatever the reason, I was fuming.
"I grabbed my bags and stormed off to my room without even having my dinner. That is how upset I was.
"For me, Rafa was in the wrong on that occasion. It suggests the manager does not trust you to look after yourself in the right way.
"As a player, you have to know when the time is right to relax and when it isn't, and I like to think that I have that balance."
Then again, maybe pre-match drinks had something to do with Celta Vigo losing 4-1.