Sunday, September 24, 2006

how much is that striker at the crossbar?

NOTES ON A WEEKEND OF FOOTBALL-WATCHING. PATHETICALLY LARGE AMOUNTS OF FOOTBALL-WATCHING. IN FACT, A WEEKEND SO FULL OF FOOTBALL, PLUS GREASY CHINESE AND LOUNGING AROUND IN SHORTS, THAT I'M A BEER AWAY FROM BECOMING SOMETHING OUT OF THE KING OF QUEENS:

It is a fact widely circulated but little acknowledged among people of good taste that I have little desire to birth babies, unless by some genetic accident they turn out to share the DNA of Luca Toni, the well-formed, well-heeled Fiorentina striker who was last year’s top scorer in Serie A with a total of thirty-one goals. To put things in perspective, past top scorers have been such legends as Diego Maradona, who have netted no more than fifteen; no one has scored more than thirty goals in Serie A since World War II, or thereabouts. Last year’s EPL top scorer, the hypnotically graceful Thierry Henry, scored twenty-seven goals in a league (and a team) that is about an order of magnitude more susceptible to goal scoring.

It’s true: no one plays more frustrating football than the Italians. I considered rescinding the reservation of my wombliness for Luca because I do not wish for my children to inherit nervous disorders or, failing that, a propensity to just stand around and look mournful when another world-class striker would try their best to convert the impossible into the merely improbable. I mean, look at Hérnan Crespo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. On their day, they can tell the best of teams where to get off – get off, go home, and cry themselves to sleep in their thorny beds of defeat. Luca Toni can’t make people cry, that’s his problem. He’s simply gorgeous when he has the ball, but yesterday he just hung around waiting for it to make the first move. I can imagine being at Fiorentina is kinda hard, but, you know, you don’t see Adrian Mutu standing around looking sad and lovely. He goes out and makes trouble, although he is at least as closely guarded as L-Ton himself.



"Tell me some more how fabulous I am."


Mostly I feel sad that, for a paternity donor who scores a goal more than once every two games, I switch on the ones where he just pulls his alas-I-am-sinned-against act.

I had a stray beautiful moment of imagining what he would do if he were playing across Pippo Inzaghi, with Gattuso and Pirlo and Kaká behind him. Oh Luca, I doubt anything will make you happy.

Speaking of Kaká, that boy is under serious threat from commentators and camera crew the world over. The overwhelming impression I had from a Milan-Livorno match that was otherwise classic throttle-and-frustrate football was like: Wow, Kaká. Look, Kaká. Isn’t Kaká cute? Kaká is cute! He’s so good when he’s controlling the ball. He’s so good when he’s running around aat the other end of the field from the ball! Ooh, someone is hurt. Let’s talk about Kaká. Oooh, someone is substituted. Let’s rest our eyes on Kaká!

I get it now, I really do. I put down the fact that both my earlier posts on this blog referenced him to coincidence, but I should have known better. The fact is, Kaká is controlling the world’s attention with his mind. No one is safe. Really, it’s a good thing that he is as excellent a footballer as he is. Sometimes I wonder if having him play next to Pirlo and Gattuso is even real. I mentioned a while ago that the Inter side was a bloated pool of brilliance, but this used to be true of all the Big Three of Italy, and in spite of trials and tribs, I hear Juventus is still blinding people around Serie B with its relative star-studdedness, and although Milan have let Sheva go, they’re not exactly asking for a new coat of Superstar paint.

Still, I have to admit that I was talking through my hat before this weekend, since I hadn’t yet caught a Real Madrid game this season, which I did for the first time in the wee sma’s of Saturday. Since the Calciopoli scandals and the selling of Juve’s Fabio Cannavaro to Madrid I have asked myself, on and off, ‘Hm, I wonder what Canna’s up to in the Spanish league?’ I heard, of course, that he was up to squat, since for one reason or another he really didn’t have too much to flash his startling white teeth about. And then in Saturday’s match against Real Betis I discovered what he’s really been doing. He’s been trying to protect himself from the death glare of the biggest concatenation of shiny footballers since maybe ever. Who even NEEDS these many high-priced living legends in a single team? What happened to the law of averages? And what happened to the laws of logic which state that, given the amount of men in Real Madrid uniforms out on the field who wrest matches from opponents for breakfast, Madrid should absolutely be evil overlords of European football instead of desperate scramblers? Has any team been so way less than the sum of its parts?

Football, I tell you. It’s a mystery to me.


At the rag-and-bone shop of great central defenders, undisclosed genteelly impoverished Hyderabad locality. Picture courtesy of tourist and enabler Kate.

7 Comments:

Blogger HAMLET POW POW POW said...

O what to say I have not said in person to you. The thing with Inter - what they gain in depth they are likely to lose in a perverse game of musical-bench. Because they're Inter. That's just idiotically beautiful.

P.S. I would shop at Canna Bazaar. I vant discount coupons ASAP.

9:53 AM  
Blogger HAMLET POW POW POW said...

Added a little something to the blog layout. Hope you likey.

9:54 AM  
Blogger roswitha said...

Milan's defence, sadly, is looking dismal at the moment, with Maldini out for about a month. I'm afraid Inter's musical-benching - short of Adriano running amok and sitting on the other strikers- doesn't take away from how dreamy their lineup is looking. PANIC! (at the disco)

Fantasy: Pippo Inzaghi stays fit, and slaughters any Zlatan-Hernan cred through sheer bloody-mindedness. I don't care what they say about his 'ugly' scoring. I like strikers who'll do anything it takes (naturally this means not doing anything to get oneself red-carded/beaten up). Complete antithesis to L-Ton.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Szerelem said...

I would have babies if they shared Zidanes DNA. His kids are ADORABLE. And i dont even like kids. Plus, his eldest son is now captain of the Real Madrid Jr. team.
Oh, and I blame Bekham for the fall of Real Madrid. They've done crap ever since he joined.

2:22 AM  
Blogger roswitha said...

Gah, what is it with footer empires? It's creepy! Paolo Maldini's son is now playing with Milan's youth club. Hello WHY CAN'T THEY LET THEIR KIDS BE KIDS. What if they want to dance flamenco or become college professors?

1:48 AM  
Blogger Szerelem said...

Hmmm....i do remember reading somewhere that Zidanes wife was not exactly happy about Enzo spending too much time on footer. An Zidane's always said whatever his kids do he expects them to work really hard just like he did so i'm guessing Enzo is actually quite good. *shrugs*

2:15 AM  
Blogger roswitha said...

I know, I know. But I still get the feeling these kids are being indoctrinated. The Maldini bambino never really seemed to have a chance - with a father and a grandfather like that who would? And young Enzo - "oh, so YOU'RE the son of the France's greatest footballer." Yeah.

Well, maybe teenage rebellion will help them a little.

5:45 AM  

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