Florent Sinama-Pongolle hasn’t exactly endeared himself to many fans in his short career, but he hit a new low at the weekend as he provoked his own Zaragoza supporters into chanting his name for all the wrong reasons.
“Sinama muerete, Sinama muerete.”
Sinama go to hell, Sinama go to hell
The anger from the supporters was certainly not due to the goal the Frenchman had just scored, instead it was aimed at the gesture he had made in celebration. A finger to the lips was meant to silence criticism from the supporters but it had the opposite effect as the Aragon air was filled with tension and conflict.
Even after scoring another goal and helping to rescue a point for Zaragoza the gesture was not forgotten. Whilst some fans waited for him outside the ground to sign autographs there were others who shouted that the striker was “shameless” and that he should respect the supporters.
Two days later and Sinama-Pongolle is very much on the defensive, telling the media that he is sorry for what happened and that everyone has to pull together in the same direction.
“After what happened with my gesture I could not sleep… It was a misunderstanding and I have already apologised.”
Whilst one might think there is little to “misunderstand” from such a gesture it is difficult to comprehend why the striker felt the need to ruin his first goal since March 26 with such a provocative action. Sure the Zaragoza fans have been on his back since his arrival, but with the team sitting bottom of the table and looking very much like relegation fodder already, the supporters must have a right to vent their frustration.
The only way for a striker to win the fans around is to score goals, something Sinama-Pongolle has struggled to do consistently througout his career. Seven years ago he joined Liverpool as one of the most promising youngsters in Europe but after disappointing stints with Blackburn Rovers, Atletico Madrid and Sporting Lisbon he only seems to have left a positive impact with Recreativo.
Indeed, during his time with Atletico, Liverpool, Blackburn and Sporting he played over 90 matches and only found the back of the net on just eleven occasions; a goals-to-game ratio that is likely to infuriate even the most accommodating of supporters.
After tarnishing what was a decent performance against Sporting Gijon the challenge now will be for Sinama-Pongolle to find his best form and start scoring goals as he did with Recreativo. His form there earnt him the prize move to Atletico Madrid and, whilst a similar transfer is unlikely to be on the horizon, he will certainly not harm his reputation by continuing to find the net, assuming he can tone down his celebrations…