Croatian Kidney Patient Hoping To Hit Euro Pitch

When Croatia returns to Euro 2008 action on Thursday, one member of the Croatian squad wants to prove he has the heart to play - even if it’s with a borrowed kidney.

Ivan Klasnic Croatia soccer player kidney transplant

The ASSOCIATED PRESS kicks up the story of Ivan Klasnic, who hopes to become the first-ever kidney transplant recipient to hit the pitch in the European tournament.

In 2007, Klasnic suffered kidney failure, and had to go through two transplant operations - one with an organ donated by his mother, and a second one donated by his father after Ivan’s body rejected his mother’s first kidney.

And Klasnic feels confident about his chances:

“I’m here to play and I’m 100 percent ready,” the 28-year-old forward said Tuesday. “I didn’t come here to be a fan, I came here to play.”

Ironically, if Klansic does make it onto the field, he’ll be facing off against Germany, the country where Ivan was born & where he plays professional ball. But if there wasn’t enough reason to root for Klasnic, there’s others reasons to root against Deutchland.

UPI & THE GUARDIAN both report that over a hundred German fans were arrested last Sunday for fighting with Polish supporters while chanting Nazi slogans. About 157 soccer fans were taken in after witnesses reported hearing such shouts as “Sieg Heil!” and “All Poles must wear yellow star” - a reference to the patch the Nazis forced Jews to wear during World War II.

You’d think that 63 years after the fact, we’d be beyond that kind of idiocy. But sadly, even Croatian fans have shown that they’re not above such appalling anti-semitic behavior:

Croatian soccer fans human swastika

We keep forgetting that “fan” is short for “fanatic”. Now we’re not sure who to root for. At least Austrians encourage their team by offering free beer.