Ivory Coast forward Max-Alain Gradel has explained that his emotional goal celebration against Equatorial Guinea was for his late father, who passed away last week.
Gradel, who is also the captain of the Elephants, was unable to attend his father’s funeral on 8 January because of Covid-related issues.
The 34-year-old explained his emotional outburst at the Africa Cup of Nations and thanked his teammates for the support during the difficult moment.
“It’s a mix of emotion and joy at the same time,” Gradel said, per BBC Sport Africa.
“I am very happy to have scored for my father, the whole Ivory Coast and all Ivorians.
“I want to say thank you to them for the support they gave me, as well as my team-mates who supported me during these difficult moments.”
Ivory Coast head coach Patrice Beaumelle also shared his feelings after Gradel’s match-winning goal, saying he is happy for the player under those difficult circumstances.
“I’m sure this goal went direct to the sky to his father,” said the Ivory Coast coach.
“I’m very happy for him. He deserves it, he is a fantastic guy, fantastic team-mate, fantastic player. I’m very glad to have such a player in my squad, and I love my players.”
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