Friday, June 19, 2009

There Can Be Only One

Like any hot blooded man, I love my football. The only thing is I don't particularly support any one club. No Manchester United, no Liverpool, no Real Madrid, non of that for me thanks. I find it ridiculous to support such teams when one day a player is playing for you and the very next season he is signed by one of your bitter rivals and playing against you. Even the money that's exchanged between teams to 'buy' players is getting stupid! But there is one team that I truly support. And that is Argentina. OK it's a country but I love their football. Ever since 1978 when I was just beginning to play football with the neighbourhood kids, I started hearing about them from the older boys. (Remember back then it was almost impossible to watch a game 'live' on TV). That was also the year they won their first World Cup. It was only in the next World Cup in 82 that I got to really keep track of the team. Then in 1986 all hell broke loose! Everyone I knew then were glued to their TVs watching every game 'live'. Argentina won their second World Cup with such class that they brought football to an all new level. Diego Armando Maradona was the name on every ones lips. Many adored him, a few despised him. All I know is he is the God that plays football! Yes, Yes. All the England fans out there will talk about the 'Hand of God' incident and call him a cheat. But they also know that in that very game, he made the England team look like a bunch of weekend footballers. And I love rubbing it into them every time I get the chance. So here I go again! He dribbled past half, YES HALF, the England team including the goalkeeper, YES GOALKEEPER EVEN, to score what will probably remain as the best goal in the history of football! Ever! This one goal alone erased the entire 'cheating' thing. Besides the English must really be that stupid to let a short guy like Maradona do that to them. That's their fault, not his. Some other players come to mind. Claudio Cannigia was the player I used to emulate when I was in school. He was one of the fastest footballers in the world. Being a sprinter in my school days, that was the one thing that I shared with him, speed. Sadly that was the only thing I could say I had in common with him. (I wasn't very good in all the other parts of being a footballer. My coach would tell me to get the ball from my goalkeeper and run like mad towards the opponents goal. Then pass the ball to my striker, who'll be waiting up there to score. Then he got all the credit. Crap.) Then there is Gabriel Batistuta, Osvaldo Ardiles, Valdano, Riquelme, Burruchaga, Goycochea, the list goes on and on. Lets not forget the latest sensation. They call him the new Maradona. His name, Lionel Messi. This young man went through bone lengthening operations in his shins when he was barely a teenager. He was told he was too short to be taken as a player seriously. He went through that very painful operation just for football. An operation so painful that it would have made most grown men cry! Today Leo is the greatest talent on the field anywhere. Never mind Pele, yes he was good too. So was Zico, Rummenigge from Germany, Platini and I'm sure a few more come to your mind. But at the end of the day, when the dust has settled and the grass has started to grow on the fields again, we look back and remember only one name. That name is Diego Armando Maradona. Because we know, there can be only one.

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