In 2009, Oguchi Onyewu was enjoying a wildly successful soccer career. He was a mainstay in the U.S. Men’s National Team starting defense, and he completed a transfer to Italian giants AC Milan. After injuring his patella tendon in a World Cup qualifier, he’s had nothing but rehab and bench time to look forward to.
Now it seems there is still some fight left in the star defender. This last Friday, the Onyewu was involved in a scuffle on Milan’s training ground with teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic. According to reports, Onyewu was upset by a reckless tackle from the Swede and responded by choking him. Punches were exchanges soon there after.
Club vice president Adriano Galliani told reporters, “I’m happy when I see players pumped up. I’m happier seeing fiery training sessions than boring ones.”
Although violence is not to be taken likely, this new spark on Onyewu could lead to good things. Standing at 6’4”, his strength and physicality have been nearly non-existent since suffering his injury. Named the captain for the US friendly against Colombia last month, a testament to his perseverance during rehab, his confidence and the physicality of his game have returned.
Frustration might have ignited the fight, but he needed to remind the soccer world that he is a physical force to be reckoned with. Onyewu needs to establish his presence once again, and if this fight makes him more aggressive on the field then it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A determined, angry, and physical Onyewu means a strong centerpiece for United States and the Milan defense alike.