‘BMI’ keeping spirits high for Holland
He is perhaps the only player in the Dutch squad that can raise a smile from fearsome looking coach Louis van Gaal. Bruno Martins Indi, affectionately nicknamed ‘BMI’, has an infectious presence in the Netherlands set-up.
Born to a Portuguese mother and Guinean father in the shadow of Benfica’s ‘Stadium of Light’, Martins Indi endured some dark days during his childhood. Growing up more or less in poverty, at Feyenoord as a youngster he frequently relied on hand-outs.
His positivity, and light heartedness bear resemblance to a young Rio Ferdinand, who became key for dressing room morale in Manchester United’s successful spell before Sir Alex Ferguson left. Ironically, ‘Indi’ has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, after his national boss confirmed he will take at ‘the theatre of dreams’.
While he looks serious on the pitch, the centre half is anything but anywhere else. Upon entering a training session for the Netherlands, who are 33/1 to win the World Cup, he sprints up to his former youth coach Cor Adriaanse screaming “Uncle Corrie, Uncle Corrie, let me hug you!”
He’s a born entertainer. After Mario Balotelli’s attempts to get out of his training top while at Manchester City, that left the football world in raptures of mirth, Martins Indi spent the whole next day at Feyenoord re-enacting it to the amusement of his colleagues.
‘BMI’ also evoked warmth from the temperamental Van Gaal. The exact words, “I love you Bruno”, are a reminder that in a world that is so often dictated by money, even the hardest of individuals are capable of humility.
“I think I click very well with Van Gaal. But I do it without sucking up to him, honest!”, said the player.
Martins Indi has been a mainstay in the Dutch squad throughout their qualifying campaign, and could well surprise many as one of the most consistent performers at the competition, if the Netherlands can emulate their successful run from four years ago. It seems he’s all about spreading the love.