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SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS - 第53回 6億円のゴール

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投稿日時: 2007-10-20 00:00:00

 金銭的には日本サッカー史上、最も価値のあるゴールだったと言えるかもしれない。
 07年5月20日、J1第12節。
 横浜F・マリノス対FC東京。
 スコアレスの後半24分、途中出場のFC東京MF福西崇史はこぼれ球を右足でコントロールし、豪快に左足を振り抜いた。


 約35メートルの超ロングシュート。前に出ていた相手GKをあざ笑うかのようにボールはネットに突き刺さった。このロングシュートが決勝ゴールとなり、FC東京は1対0で横浜F・マリノスを振り切った。

 ドラマは試合後に待っていた。福西のロングシュートがトト(サッカーくじ)の当選金5億6313万2913円、当選7口を決定したのだ。高額の当選金を生む「BIG」(ビッグ)とは06年9月から販売が開始された新しい種類のクジで、J1とJ2の14試合を対象にする。ホームチームの90分間以内での勝ちが「1」、負けが「2」、その他(引き分け・延長)の三種類。クジは全てコンピュータが選択するため、購入者は予想できない。

 売り上げの減少に悩む独立行政法人日本スポーツ振興センターが苦肉の策として開発した新商品だ。この日、午後4時からクジの対象となる試合が二つ行われた。日産スタジアムでの横浜−FC東京、長居第2陸上競技場でのセレッソ大阪−愛媛FC戦である。

 長居第2陸上競技場での試合は後半13分の時点で愛媛FCがリード。ほぼ試合の行方が見えたことでクジ購入者の視線は日産スタジアムでのゲームに集中した。約6億円の立役者となった福西は試合後「僕を恨む人がいるかもしれないけど、僕は無関係ですよ」とポーカーフェイスを装った。

 福西があそこでロングシュートを打たなかったらマークは「0」になっていたわけで、当然、当選者は入れ替わっていたことになる。福西の左足が歓喜と悲鳴を最大値で交差させたのだ。

 その福西は今季、12年間在籍したジュビロ磐田からFC東京に移籍した。原博実監督からは「グラウンドの中でオレが思っていることを伝えてくれ」と指示された。
「僕もベテランといわれる年代に入りました。年齢が上にいくについて自分のことだけではなく、ここはこうした方がいいとチームの状況を含め、いろいろと考えられるようになってきた。これまでの経験をこのチームに生かしていきたい」

 殊勝な面持ちで福西は語った。
 福西には二人の“師匠”がいる。ジュビロに入団した当時の監督ハンス・オフトと、かつてのチームメイト、ドゥンガ(現ブラジル代表監督)だ。
「オフトにはサッカーの奥深さを教わった。高校までは好き勝手にやっていたので、サッカーの奥の部分についてはわからなかった。オフトはトライアングルからアイコンタクトから、パスの角度まで事細かく教えてもらった。ドリブルは許してもらえなかったが、(オフトが去って)ドリブルを織り交ぜるようになってチームは強くなりましたね。いずれにしてもオフトと出会ってからサッカー観が変わった。もう勉強しっぱなしでした」

 もうひとりの“師匠”であるドゥンガについては?
「ドゥンガには怒られてばかりいました(笑)。少しのミスも許さない。練習のたびに怒るんです。とりわけポジショニングやパスミスについてはうるさかったですね。ドゥンガって足は速くないんです。走らないんだけど要所要所で大切な仕事をする。相手のことはもちろんスペースや自分たちのチームのこともよく見ている。要するにポジショニングや判断の良さで足の遅さを補っていたんです。僕も足が遅いし、そう走れる方でもないのでドゥンガのプレーは勉強になりました。練習では常に近くにいてドゥンガの技術を盗んでいました」

 福西は2度ワールドカップを経験している。02年の日韓大会と06年のドイツ大会だ。
 初めてワールドカップのピッチに足を踏み入れたのは日韓大会の1次リーグ2試合目のロシア戦の後半39分。わずか5分間のみの出場だったが、福西にとっては今まで経験したことのない特別な時間だった。

「正直に言えば、不満足感の方が強かったですね。その不満足感が“また出たい!”という強い思いにつながっていった。もう1回、真剣勝負の中に身を置きたいと……」

 代表監督がフィリップ・トルシエからジーコに代わって福西はレギュラーの座を確保した。ポジションは攻守の要となるボランチだ。中心選手として日本代表の顔でもある中田英寿(ドイツ大会後に引退)と激しくやりあったこともある。

「ドイツW杯最終予選第2戦イラン戦前の練習のことです。ヒデは僕に“ボランチの位置からボールを奪いにいきたい。だからオマエも(前に)いってくれ”と言った。でも僕も同じように上がったらスペースが空く。だから僕は“ヒデが出て行くのなら、オレは空いているスペースをケアするよ”と。それでもヒデは“一緒に出て行ってくれ”と譲らない。前でボールが獲りたかったんだと思います」

 ドイツW杯の初戦の相手はオーストラリア。福西はフルタイム出場した。日本代表は前半奪った1点を守りきることができず、後半残り10分になってまるで堤防が決壊するようにたて続けに3点を失った。

 悪夢の10分間を福西はこう振り返る。
「あっという間でしたね。最後は完全にパワープレー。体のサイズが違う分、こちらは余計な力を使ってしまった。それが最後にズシンときた感じ……」
 童顔だが二児の父。7歳の男の子はもうサッカーボールを蹴っている。
「皆で協力してひとつの目標に向かっていく。そういう気持ちを育んでほしい」
 端正なマスクにクールな笑みが広がった。

(この原稿は07年9月20日発売『ビッグコミックオリジナル』に掲載されました)



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