A day before new Red Bulls goalkeeper Frank Rost made his training debut for the squad, the Red Bulls head coach made his way out Randall’s Island to meet stars of another sport.
Tennis legends John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg welcomed Hans Backe to their charity match Thursday night where the two brought back memories of their outstanding rivalry from years ago. Backe, who shares his Swedish heritage with Borg, needed no introduction to the tennis legend.
“He has to be the most well-known Swede outside Sweden,” said Backe. “I think no one can compare with him. He’s still a huge name and you can see that by the number of media that attended the press conference yesterday. All over the world, he is recognized if you just mention his name.”
Borg and McEnroe, who were featured in HBO documentary titled ‘Fire and Ice’ earlier this year chronicling their epic rivalry and friendship, both have a strong passion for the game of soccer.
"I played soccer right here (on Randall's Island) when I was a kid,” said McEnroe. “Not far from where our Academy now is, and this is the place where Pele came to play for the Cosmos, so I'm a great fan of the sport and I hope he enjoyed watching us play. I love soccer."
Borg echoed the feelings and admired the support from Backe, even with his busy schedule.
"Soccer is one of my passions, there is nothing like it as a team sport,” Borg said. “And I was glad a fellow countryman could come from his busy schedule just to meet me. It was very nice to see him and accept the Red Bulls jersey."
Afterwords, the Red Bulls head coach had nothing but praise and admiration for the tennis legend.
“I would call them the two greatest tennis players ever, definitely. It’s something special as a fellow countryman to meet Bjorn Borg, with his phenomenal record and character – and of course, a total opposite personality in John McEnroe, who was also a fantastic player. It’s great to shake hands with those guys and give two match jerseys to them.”