Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Your cheatin' hand...

Okay, so an arrogant little... upstart. And his "confession" inthe enjoyable interview with Lineker was hardly self-flagellating stuff. But I just can't be angry with that man Maradona...
Old footage of Cruijff is a joy to watch, briefer glimpses of Pele too, and my old man will insist to his dying day (and beyond) that di Stefano was actually the finest footballer ever.
But Maradona for me, every time, even if the '86 traumas were my first real World Cup memories (staying up late, slumped in my top-bunk-bed, willing on Waddle and Hodge and Hoddle and one of the "Two Gary Stevens, there's only two Gary Stevens...") - or perhaps because of that second goal against England, the perhaps even finer semi-final strike against Belgium, and just the sheer inspirational everything-ness he seemed to offer that Argentine side (who weren't at all half-bad, by the by, tempting though it is to write them off as a bunch of useless hackers hauled all the way by a genius... though he was...)

It is, of course, hard to judge, really, from the less I've seen of Pele, but he seemed to add - albeit brilliantly - to teams already gilded with the likes of Garrincha or Rivelino.
Maradona was under more pressure to haul his side up using the strength of his stumpy legs, a swivel and a shrug, and the glue which stuck the ball to that left foot whensoever he felt like it...

A complete nutcase and occasional cheat, too, sure... But what he could do with a football were, doubtless still are, mind-boggling.

And, however blatant it clearly was, Maradona somehow got away with that handball - and it did seem original at the time, in a sick twisted way.
Valdano's cack, er, handed copy in the semi-final was just embarrassing, though, and thankfully, belatedly, had a referee who wasn't quite so dumb as ours.
Should have sent him off, mind, for idiocy as much as cheating, but still...

I still bore people occasionally (did I say "occasionally"? I meant, "often"...) with my vaguely-remembered night at White Hart Lane watching a Spurs central midfield of Hoddle and Maradona, for Ossie Ardiles's testimonial, in early 1986 - ah, the glory that coulda been...

Reading in a recent Sheringham interview, apparently Klinsmann was only the club's second choice in summer 94, Ossie was seriously pondering a move for Maradona, but ultimately decided too troublesome, especially after his antics in the US that World Cup.

Still - that could have been fun...

3 comments:

a.c.t said...

Was a very enjoyable interview and like you say it's hard to despise the cheeky little man. Did you see how uncomfortable Lineker looked? His Spanish is pretty impressive though still, but he looked as stiff as a board and seemed to lack any emotion.

WDKY said...

Wow - really? That would have been something...

Looking forward to Sunday?

Toxic said...

Still say when he was at his largest girth and on deaths door he could still out jump that prat Shilton.