Rino’s an emotional kisser and cuddler and Ambro’s a mother hen who can’t go a day without adjusting someone’s hair or scarf or life, even Allegri’s a confirmed back and butt smacker. It’s mostly lost in the shuffle that Zlatan and Sandro keep bumping shoulders and hips and brushing hands. Maxi Lopez arches an eyebrow in their general direction one day but Zlatan isn’t sure if it’s because he’s practically spooning Sandro while reaching for a bottle of water or because Binho and Thiago are teaching Mark one of their Brazilian dances.
There’s some excitement when Zlatan helps himself to two blocks of Sandro’s chocolate bar without asking and retains all his fingers. Ambro, Pippo and Clarence reminisce about old bruises and Abbiati shows off a scar reputedly earned by diving into a bag of chocolate truffles. Sandro rolls his eyes but denies nothing.
Sandro baring teeth and claws with impunity at the Palermo player who treads on Zlatan’s arm provokes a lively discussion on the impact of reputation and physical appearance on carding decisions. Zlatan gets a yellow for getting in the face of the Parma git who slams into Sandro’s back. On the trip home he whispers to Sandro that it’s quite clear who’s the pretty one in this deal.
Defining the deal isn’t a priority at the moment. Zlatan knows that if Sandro was one of his national teammates or any other Milan man the deal would be sex and not much else. Facebook wasn’t around when Sandro got in his face during that quarterfinal match nine years ago but “it’s complicated” has been their status ever since. They’re doing an intricate dance toward change – a waltz that could turn into a grind at any moment. Zlatan wouldn’t win any prizes for patience and, off the football field, it isn’t the most practiced of Sandro’s virtues. Sooner or later one of them will reach for what he wants and nothing will ever be the same again.