Monday, April 9, 2007

Would you trust Maradona to mark his own golf score? - Postern

Inzamam-ul-Haq refuses to bring his Pakistan team back onto the field after being accused of ball-tampering by the match umpire. Joey Barton flashes his buttocks at Everton fans. An AFL player is taped discussing Ketamine with an alleged 'underworld figure'. Korean Super Reds FC player Lee Sang Jin kicks the ball 'with intent' at an ad hoarding and raises his index finger to the crowd.

The captain of a national football team, playing in the quarter finals of the World Cup, intentionally punches the ball into the goal in a one-on-one with the opposition keeper.

"I was waiting for my teammates to embrace me," he recalls, years later. "No one came…I told them, 'Come hug me, or the referee isn't going to allow it.'"

And the odd one out? Okay, you're ahead of me. That's right, the first four examples were charged by their sport's governing body with bringing the game into disrepute. The final one, Maradona, was awarded player of the tournament at the 1986 World Cup, not two weeks after his cheating was seen by millions.

Unarguably the tournament's most watchable player, it does not alter the fact he is a cheat first, skilful player second. Ben Johnson ran fast, but he is known as a drugs cheat. Cincinnati Reds might have been the world's best baseball team in 1919, but the Chicago White Sox threw the game. The 1994 Chilean goalkeeper may have been decent between the sticks, but he'll be remembered for pretending a firecracker hit him. What will be Barry Bonds' legacy?

The cheat tag sticks. Like murderers, rapists or arsonists, reformed sporting cheats are not referred to as 'former-'.

Yet, to many, classing Maradona as a cheat is unthinkable. Human, sure. Tainted, who isn't? But cheat, no.

At present the sporting world has (at least) two sporting icons bestriding their respective sports, both with reputations for exemplary conduct. Fans of golf and tennis have years of enjoyment ahead of them as they see Tiger Woods and Roger Federer chase the wins to become the greatest of all time. Both could rip up their sports' Grand Slam records.

For Woods, there might be some argument as to who was the greatest if he was seen by TV viewers repeatedly moving his marker closer to the hole during the third round of this year's Masters. Federer might lose some of his shine if it was found he was triggering false Hawkeye calls via a device on his racquet. It is as likely either would blatantly cheat as it is golf or tennis fans would include cheats in their top 10 all time greatest. Not football fans though.

Football has its problems but not all of them can be blamed on officials. Dodgy agents, greedy players, rip-off ticket prices…that many fans continue to vote for Maradona in any Greats list suggests we get the game we deserve.

96 comments:

Ebren said...

I'd like to add a couple of names to the cheat list.

M Schumacher. Might be a great, but will always be the man who took out Hill in 94. Odly, I don't feel the same way about Senna. Strange, but I don't.

And Murali. Better than Warne on almost any figures you care to find, but pretty much everyone calls him a chucker and Warne the greatest ever. That's one I don't get.

Zephirine said...

Good piece, Postern. As a non-football person I've never understood the Maradona thing.

Ebren - re Murali, Mouth and the others are more expert on this than me, but isn't the problem that Murali bowls the way he does pretty much all the time? So either his action is permissible, or he just shouldn't be allowed to play - and the authorities have deliberated and decided that he is allowed. So people may disagree with that decision, but he can't be called a cheat, can he?

levremance said...

Re Maradona I just see a Gaelic footballer inside a soccer player wanting to get out. For a moment there he was at the All-Ireland Final not the soccer World cup and probably thought a goal is a goal is a goal. Then again I wasn't fussed who won that day so maybe I'm being overly flippant.

Murali - Ian Meckiff got thrown out of the game for a kinked arm. But they changed the rules now so we all have to accept it.

Not sure who the AFL player you're talking about or whether any action has been taken.

Ebren said...

I think there's an element of predjudice in the Mural point.

He's bowled his entire repetoire with an arm brace on to prove he doesn't chuck any more than anyone else (it's impossible to keep the arm entirely straight, no one does, the 15 degrees flex they allow is just so they don't have to ban everyone in world cricket). But to a lot of people I skeak to this just doesn't matter. In their opinion he chucks, end of.

Personally I tink he's a genius - but he'll never be put on the same level as Warne.

BlueinBetis said...

William Webb Ellis. Cheat! That's handball that is!

Admiral Lord Nelson. Cheat! No, no, no! You're supposed to line the boats up alongside each other and shoot the f*ck out of each other. Put them in perpendicular line, that's just cheating that is.

Just a matter of how you look at it really, history judges neither of these two figures as cheats, when in fact, they changed the "rules" to suit them. Cheated.

Maradona is particularly strong memory for most of us I would imagine, since it was one of the first World Cups we remember, and will always be remembered for the best ever goal, and the worst ever just before it. Problem is, they were both against England. We are always told that cheats never prosper at school, and yet..... he goes and lifts the World Cup. I can't get past the feeling of outrage I had. Similar now when I look at the Winking Ronaldo.

[stamps feet, shakes fists]

IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!

[walks off in a strop]

guitougoal said...

Postern, you are very brave because morality and sport is not a cake walk.
Chicago White Sox were not cheat they were crooks.They had a master plan to fix the game.As far as Barry Bond he is following the steps of Sosa or Mark McGuirre who also used steroids while they were chasing the same record.Tennis and golf can't be compared to football because there is no room for cheating in golf nor in tennis. I think Rugby is a good example as a comparaison with football, because rugby is a gentleman sport while football which originated in the streets is more "hooliganist" and corrupted at his highest level.Obscene amount of money is invested in football, too much money brings corruption and cheating and this is today's world of football, but people love to watch the game and don't care.
It's a very interesting subject the morality in sports but I don't think there is a line between Maradonna and Wood or between one sport and another one each case is specific and should be adressed separetely. You may have to add more chapters in the future, thank you in advance.

hannibalbrooks said...

The great Ronnie Barker's charecter, 'Fletch', in the prison sit-com 'Porridge' puts it best when he says 'We are all in prison for the same reason .... we all got caught'.

pipita said...

Postern

Im not particularly a great Maradona fan, as some of you may have realized reading my Kempes article in Pseuds. However, I think its totally unfair that he should be labelled a "cheat", above anything else, by that hand of of god goal, leaving his extraordinary contribution for the game at second level. Besides, putting his fist to score a goal was practically a one off, not something he persistently did throughout his career. His drug addiction was not in order to seek advantage either because obviously he had no need for that given his outstanding skills. I think their is a risk of being somewhat hypocritical here, as one spurs cab dirver told me once "I understand what Maradona did, I myself saw Jimmy greaves score with his fist more than once, and we thought it ws so cool how he got away with it". Its essencially the authorities, ref and linesman, who should take the blame for that famous goal.

paulita said...

I like the attempt to question morality in sport. I, however, find your treatment of maradona a bit flat. of course, being argentine, I'm biased. but you are not objective either and that's actually the great thing. there's so much context in that goal... the moment in history and the the difference between english and argentine football...

seeing the genius in maradona doesn't keep me from noticing his faults. and luckily noticing his faults doesn't keep me from seeing the genius.

nesta said...

I guess postern that if they we're handing out fair play awards Maradona wouldn't rate. But for footballing prowess he is surely one of the best. However, if I was English I am sure it would be difficult to be rational when discussing Maradona. From a neutral point of view and considering the Falklands conflict 'The Hand of God' was an unforgettable sporting moment. His other goal that day was the best individual goal I've ever seen. They probably write songs about it in Buenos Aires. I would love to read on psuedscorner an Argentinian view of that match.

Lev, Daniel Kerr (Collingwood saw plenty of him on the weekend) is on recent police recordings buying/ordering/discussing ketamine and cocaine. He should of been in remand on the weekend not running rings around the 'Pies midfield. Doesn't make him a cheat though, only an idiot.

paulita said...

hola pipita

was it hard to defend maradona? ha

mimi said...

ebren: re Schumacher, not just the Hill incident but also trying to take out Villeneuve (for which he was punished by being forced to make a shampoo ad for L'Oreal - because you're worth it!) and last year parking in car in Monte Carlo to stop Alonso setting pole.
On the general point of athletes who got caught returning to their sport - in cycling, their names are almost always prefaced with words such as "returning from a 2 year drug ban, David Millar/insert any other name here ..."
They are oft forgiven transgressions, but never is it forgotten.

guitougoal said...

Pipita, Maradona double personality, diego and diedon'tgo.If you love the game,you have to take football as it is, the good and the bad because we have no choice anyway. It's like this guy who likes a pretty girl but he wants her to be perfect. Almost impossible no?
pipita,talking about ladies, I took the liberty to commit ourselves last night( if you go to the tap room you'll find out), i pledged our protection to mimi running away from the Formula one thread on GU.Hope i didn't trespass...

postern said...

Pipita: i've no doubt there are thousands of cheats in football (and other sports). I use Maradona as a device to discuss the issue because a) he's generally considered one of the all time greats, b) his act of cheating is so famous. he also happily admitted it.
i have no problem with his drug taking. nothing to do with football.
but to blame the authorities for cheating is just tosh. are the police to blame for crimes they didn't see? what is it about football that means players can't police themselves?
Guito:you're right, there is something different about football. but i don't think it's money, and football doesn't have hooligan origins - or at least no more hooligan than rugby

guitougoal said...

mimi,
I thought it was very funny the way you used the tape-room as a safe heaven.I noticed miro went back at your lowwonder guy.

nesta said...

This post has got me thinking about Maradona. Seeing him proudly wearing his shirt on the terraces at the last World Cup was fantastic. Standing with his brothers singing and chanting he looked like he was having the time of his life. Seeing him laughing and singing made me happy. I don't know why. Maradona is more than a footballer he is an icon. I'd be surprised if he wasn't much loved in Argentina. He gave and still gives so much joy. Unless you are English of course. I wonder what the Welsh or Scots have to say about Diego?

pipita said...

Postern

See what you mean, but it seems to me that your example of police and crimes they didnt see vis-a-vis ref and linesman not seeing a handball in front of their eyes, is not exactly pertinent in this case

Paulita

Ya lo creo, I dont particularly fancy going out of my way to defend dieguito...Super clasico is looking terrible for us.......

Guitou

I'll check out the taproom right now

Zeph said...

Mimi, Lowdowner is probably a bored 14-year-old. Ignore.

Meanwhile on the cricket blog, AndyinBrum has accused Pepp of being a troll!! Pistols at dawn.

paulita said...

nesta

'He gave and still gives so much joy'. exactly!
that should be the measure for best footaballer; not sportsmanship, statistics or cups, but the joy they can give.

pipita
the same happened before the previous clasico and you know how that ended.
will your next article be 'the fall from grace of passarella'?

mimi said...

guitou: as I had no tapir to worry about, I felt the taproom was definitely a safe haven!
Zeph: I saw AiB's post about Pepp. I'm sure she'll exact revenge.

postern said...

'how much joy they give'? eh? so if, say, Linvoy Primus was to crack Cristiano Ronaldo in the swingers he would be this year's Footballer of the Year? is there a Joy-o-Meter somewhere?
i have no doubt Maradona is a life-loving, proud Argentinian - and that he can do 100 keepie-uppies - but he's still a cheat.

i've been drinking, so i'll stop.

paulita said...

that's the differences I'm talking about between english and argentine or southamerican football.

how can 1 handball outshine everything else?
how can you rate someone winking worse than someone stepping on somebody's bollocks?

pipita said...

Sure thing mimi, as guitou rightly suggested I can always bring along los "borrachos del tablon" literally "the drunkards of the terraces", River Plate's barra bravas, if necessary

Paulita

Exactly, my next piece will be on passarella no matter what happens next sunday. It was hard to endure all those nasty chants by the River fans-practically the whole stadium- against him last night. Short memory as they say...

Ebren

Where did this argie add come from??? was that you paulita??? by any chance

Ebren said...

Pipita - the adds are automatic. Google scans the site contents than picks ads like it does when you search for things.

If I mention wagon wheels often enough we might ads for them.

offfside said...

Postern,

it's a good thing we never have any Argentine visitors on this site. Otherwise I might have thought you were trying to pick a fight.

I can not read your statement that his cheating outweighs his skills as anything other than deliberate, gratuitous provocation. And not just directed at Argentines.

On the other hand, the mental image of Maradona playing golf is so surreal and funny, it almost redeems the other nonsense.

I wink in your general direction.

offside (deliberately)

mimi said...

Ha: Offside, you're back with us. I was worried that the defeat of your shark army had damaged you irretrievably. Glad the cats left you something to cobble a life back together with.

hannibalbrooks said...

I wouldn't trust Diego with making me a cup of coffee but he is the best player to have ever played the game ... by a mile ... and that is precisely how I would define him. Not as 'a cheat', but as a fucking genius.

If he had got caught, then he would be 'a cheat', but he got away with it and eventually lifted the World Cup, he is therefore obviously a genius.

The attitude of the piece is sad, predictable and pathetic ... sorry Postern but these are the feelings that it generates, I can only be honest.

Good blog piece though, you would find out alot about people if this were on GU. Paul Doyle would be proud of you.

MotM said...

As intersting as ever.

I'm very much with Pipita. Maradona's immense contribution to the game cannot be over-shadowed by the "Hand of God" however distasteful it was at the time. It was a momentary thing and had the ref spotted it, or the ball trickled wide, everyone would have had a giggle. Most players would have done it.

I don't like systematic, strategic cheating like doping programmes, Schumacher's race strategy and the use of diving as a tactic. No time for any of them.

Here's a quick story. My father's best friend is the father of an Olympic medallist swimmer. I asked my dad if he ever spoke to his friend about the drugs - not much he said, they are pleased with their son's medal haul but his wife is bitter about their daughter. Why, said I. Well she came fourth in the Olympics, got no medal and is totally forgotten (despite the immense sacrifice required for that result). Thing is, the three medallists all admitted being in Eastern Bloc state doping programmes, so in a sense, she won.

Now that would hurt me.

MotM said...

It's always a pleasure to read bloggers from around the world here, although we have few contributions from the US. For readers looking for a US perspective, can I recommend http://supertopuksoccer.blogspot.com/?

I think the main writer has a lot to learn, but shows promise.

pipita said...

Ebren

Dear me!!!! If you start mentioning wagon wheels too often I'll have to mention the word "alfajores" in all my future entries here....

Offside

Maradona and golf is a pretty bizarre connection. George Best once said the only relation he could think of between golf and himself was "whole in one"......However there have been a couple of cases here of top class footballers who were excellent golfers such as two 78 cup winners, ex marseille Beto Alonso and "el loco" Houseman. Both lived in humble neighberboods as kids but near golf courses and became caddies

paulita said...

actually maradona played golf, and quite compulsively they say.

http://sport.gazeta.ru/files/103551/0maradona_golf.jpg

guitougoal said...

Paulita, of course, maradona is a golfer. In fact the hand of god was an accident. Diego was trying to adjust his golf cap when the ball came accidentally against his hand . Goal.
This story was never told because Diego's
confusion could have raised some questions about his sobriety.

paulita said...

guitougoal

some could raise questions about your sobriety too : )

guitougoal said...

touche. that hurts.

paulita said...

guitougoal
nono
not me, others not as nice as me.

guitougoal said...

no offense paulita, deliberate delirium could be trouble. Maradona as a football genius can't be denied, and I drink to that.

offside said...

Hey, you two, you're drinking without me! I'll have one too. To Diego's health.

BlueinBetis said...

Yesterday I posted in haste, but now I have some time. Postern, I like you writing style, and you make a clever argument. But I disagree with your basic premise - that Maradona is simply a cheat. Because:

"Cheating" is breaking the rules to gain advantage, as a simple definition. By this definition, the list of cheats would be enormous. Think about it, nearly every time some new innovation in sport comes along there are always problems about whether it should be adopted. Cricket, tennis, imagine the uproar the first time someone bowled overarm, or served overarm. There would have been howls of derision. Thus; this definition is not as simple as is made out, and in sport particularly it falls down.

We English have a very selective memory when it comes to this goal. For the reason I talked of above, mainly we were younger, and so it hurts more. But think it through again, watch the second goal, again, and tell me, honestly, that England deserved to win that match. Can't do it, can you? Watch the second goal again, look at the players he goes past, and through. Some great players are conspicuous by their absence, Robson for one. I know that up until now I have not yet upset Mouth, but I think this might, the tubby, grey haired bloke that trundles after him never looking like he will tackle Maradona is Peter Reid. A great servant for his club, but not a World Cup winning midfielder. We had a World Class goalhanger. And a pretty decent defence. But we didn't deserve to beat Argentina. If that goal wasn't allowed, and it finshed 1 - 1, we would have lost on penalties like always. So it's a bit pointless to go on as if we were robbed. Outside of England, the second goal is the one that is shown, and rightly so. He was an amazing player, in his pomp, as the second goal demonstrates.

We English also have a very selective ability to get upset at people who are not English. We forgive our sinners, but castigate other countries sinners. In football for example, Gazza: a wife beater, Beckham: a petulant child, Robson, Adams, Merson, plus many others I can't think of but I'm sure you can: Alcoholics. Yet we celebrate their mistakes, and hold them up to be examples of virtue, because they have "turned their lives around"

The point is nobody's perfect. Sour grapes because of one goal, is still sour grapes. And I think it's one of our most unattractive cultural traits. As I said, I love the way this is written, and I like your use of comparisons to make a strong argument. But I think you need to watch the second goal a few more times, at full speed and in slow motion, from different angles. Maradona, the Pele of our generation. I am priviliged to have been able to see him destroy our World Cup hopes. Still think, on a personal level, he's not a very nice man, but a cheat. No.

(It's becuase of Maradona that I will be cheering River on, sorry Paulita, Your going to berate me for this I know......I love Riquelme, but I really don't like Diego....Seen too many interviews.)

Oooo, that was a long one!

offside said...

BlueinBetis,

I take it the wallpaper is up then?

BlueinBetis said...

If you talk about it will fall down, shush!

All finished. Looks lovely, except Mrs Betis wouldn't let me paint a Chelsea crest on the wall. Boo!

offside said...

Well, count yourself lucky to be living with a woman of taste, then.

BlueinBetis said...

You and me are going to fall out.....

At least she didn't ask for green and white vertical stripes, or chupa chups on pink.

Still confident about Valencia are you? I think Essien may be able to play.

MotM said...

Blue - Excellent post. You'll get no argument from me on any of those points except Riquelme at the end. Peter Reid was a hero to all Evertonians and we would rather have had him than Hoddle, Wilkins, Robson anyone, but he was out of his depth vs Maradona (although my father always used to point out that NOBODY else ever ran away from Peter Reid).

And Maradona's goal against Belgium in the semi was even better than the second vs England.

postern said...

thanks for the responses, i had an idea this might provoke something. can i just say again, this is not intended as an anti-Maradona argument. i use him only because his instance of cheating is so well-known - and that he was clearly the most skilful player of the time.
my point was this: what is it about football fans that tolerate cheating? particularly from players that didn't need to cheat. Jimmy White calling his misses, Bobby Jones calling his foul in the US Open. class acts

BlueinBetis said...

Postern,

Thanks for the clarification. For my own part, I don't think that I do tolerate cheating, however you want to call it. Robben, for example, annoys me. Your question is valid though. I have no idea. I hate the gooners because of their manager and fans denial of their behaviour. At least Mancs admit that Keane was a dirty git. I don't know. It's a good question, and I have no idea. I blame Arsenal. It's their fault.

Mouth,

Reidy comment, Very funny. A coffee spitter!

BlueinSpain, today, Blue against Spain. Again. Come on you Blues, don't let me down!

offside said...

Postern,

the problem I had with your (otherwise finely written) piece is that it hinges on the statement that Maradona was a "cheat first", which doesn't hold up. For me. I now realise this is an "opinion piece", and as such, why not? It certainly works in provoking debate.

For me, Maradona is a footballer first, and possibly the first of footballers. And my opinion is that it's blindingly obvious. I have been blinded by football a couple of times myself, so I really couldn't hold it against you.

Betis,

I never said I was confident about Valencia. I just said I had a feeling. I still do.

Looking forward to the game, and discussing wallpaper with you afterwards.

PS: Essien is goooooood. He's not Ghanaian, is he? I wonder if he knows this guy, Abedi? Do you?

nesta said...

If you looked closely at most football teams there is always 'cheating'. I am convinced that diving is cheating (totally ruins what should be the most beautiful game on Earth) and I witness it in nearly every professional football match I watch. Singling one player out for cheating is grossly unfair but understandable, postern. Perhaps it would be best to conclude that not only was Diego the greatest player of his generation but also it's finest cheat. No mean feat when you think about it.

offside said...

Postern,

sorry, 's me again.

Why we tolerate it? Apart from truly blinkered supporters (no, no handles), I'd say what most people don't tolerate is petty cheating.

La mano de Dios was cheating on a divine scale. He did it so beautifully. Like a masterclass: if you're going to score with a handball, this is how you do it. And you might as well do it when it matters. I don't think anyone else would have gotten away with it. And then you add the context. It's one of those moments that go on to become part of the collective football consciousness.

Legendary is a clichéd term, but if you're looking for an occasion to use it to good effect...

I wonder if Maradona would have the same iconic status without the flaws, the fouls and the foul. I also wonder where Marcela is.

BlueinBetis said...

Offside,

I'm with you on this one. Maradona wouldn't be Maradona without the controversy. He'd be more like Pele than like George Best. The controversy becomes part of his identity.

On a related point, I must confess my dislike for Mr Messy, due wholly to his decision to laud the bad, and not the good about Maradona. Mr Messy has a wonderful gift for the beautiful game, but he falls over far too easily, and invites criticism from non partisans by his decision to celebrate the infamous. I dislike that immensely. I believe that actions can only be judged in light of intentions. And the intention of Mr Messy can only be seen as being bad. He's a brat first. Gifted footballer second. He will have to work very, very hard to change my opinion of him.

Michael Essien is Ghanaian...are you sure? Sounds French to me.

postern said...

agree Nesta, it was a fine piece of cheating, world class. even though it bugs me, there is a part of me that smiles to think of how he got away with it (i'm also more inclined to blame Shilton for not beating him to the punch).
i think we all have a sliding scale of what we'd view as acceptable, intentional foul play, and what is beyond the pale.
Willie Young upending 17-year-old Paul Allen clean through on goal in 1980 Cup Final. Nasty cheating
Harald Schumacher on Battiston. Nasty cheating
Rivaldo clutching his face after ball hits his knee. Embarrasing cheating.
any others up for debate?

nesta said...

How about an instance that is still an open wound. Mazeratti deliberately falling over poor Lucas Neill in Germany.

Oh how I wish that a few days later that Zidane's headbutt would have been aimed at his nose rather than his chest!

offside said...

Postern,

you can't compare that. Let's put aside our partisan view and get a sense of perspective here. Harald Schumacher is the devil.


Betis,

by "Mr Messy", you mean Lionel Messi, si? I am not aware of what he said or did.

Bien sûr, Essien sound very French. Where did I get that idea? Oh yeah, Abedi told me.

postern said...

the penalty at the end? was that Materrazzi? grief, he is a pain.
at the time my first thought was 'don't slide in, jockey him out'. then Neill went flying in; it was an open invitation for the Italian to fall over. a soft pen, but doesn't rate too highly on my cheat scale; more like shite defending

offside said...

gentlemen,

much as I like to see Materazzi getting stick, I'm afraid it was Grosso.

And as for the headbutt, it was aimed at the heart, and rightly so.

nesta said...

I don't think Maz, grosso or totti was cheating. He did what any pro footballer had to do. I'd still like to see them get a bloody nose anyway. I've tried to blame Lucas. Believe me I've tried but I can't. He's just too nice and he wears the gold and green shirt with pride. No one felt worse than him. He was on TV the next day, tear in his eye apologising to all. Everyone said, 'Don't worry mate. It wasn't you're fault. Everyone knows that Italians are cheats'. Nonsense of course but football cannot be dissected with rationality or logic. It's emotional and that's one of the reasons we keep watching and playing.

BlueinBetis said...

Mr Messy, put "el mano de dios" on his boots in the world cup. Low. very, very low.

Unforgiveable.

Essien, yes a Frenchman. Or a Belgian...

andrewm said...

"Unarguably the tournament's most watchable player, it does not alter the fact he is a cheat first, skilful player second. Ben Johnson ran fast, but he is known as a drugs cheat."

Postern, I have to call you on that. Firstly, it's not a fact that Maradona was a cheat first and skilful player second, it's just your opinion of him and how YOU will remember him.

Secondly, Ben Johnson's method of cheating was entirely different. He systematically deceived the athletics community to gain an unfair advantage, throughout his entire career. Without this cheating he would have been an also-ran. Maradona, by contrast, was far and away the greatest footballer in the world and achieved truly great things without recourse to cheating.

andrewm said...

Sorry, didn't read all the comments before posting. Schoolboy error.

Still, even if it was designed to provoke discussion I think you do Diego a grave injustice by placing him alongside Ben Johnson.

greengrass said...

Maradona - a cheat?
Maradona - the greatest?

I wouldn't pick a best-ever footballer, but Maradona would certainly be in my First XI.

Of course his handball was cheating, but that doesn't make him a cheat for life. I'd be far more likely to call him a cheat for life if the tale about him denying being father to a child in Naples is true.

What's a handball compared to a dive? The way that Robben falls around is disgusting - he should learn from that fine, upstanding youngster C Ronaldo.

I wouldn't dare go into differences
between how Argentinians and English look at football and cheating. If we gringos pointed out
things like that, we'd be banned from the GU.

Er...

Ebren said...

Best XIs is it?

Right.

Yashin
Maldini, Nesta, Basresi, Carlos Alberto
Beckenbaur, Hoddle, Keane
Garrincha, Eusabio, Cruyff

Playing a Bolton/Liverpool/Chelsea 4-3-3/4-5-1

Bench: Zoff, van Basten, Johnson, Nilton Santos, Blanchflower, Gullit.

And I'd like to see the team that beats it.

And, yes, I know Maradona and Pele aren't there. It was harder to leave out Puskas and Rensenbrink. But they don't fit the system.

pipita said...

Mouthy

We cant accept that lack of respect from Blueinbetis on the tackling abilities of the great Peter Reid.
Re maradona's first goal agianst England, anyone actually remember what a great one-two he plays with Valdano before leaping to out-fist Shilton???? Pay attention next time, its a wonderful move
Best XI, I love this, without Pele and Maradona

Ebren: Rensenbrink???????

Fillol; Thuram, Perfumo, Passarella, Marinho; Overath, Beckenbauer, Rivelino; Jairzinho, Muller, Best
Bench: Zoff, Maldini, Ball, Kempes, Lineker

Ebren said...

pipita - almost put Thuram in mine. Decided I needed more width and pace and crossing coming forward if I was playing a 4-3-3
Didn't think Muller (or Linaker for that matter) offered the movement up front to play on his own. Best loses in a straight fight to Garrincha (he might have edged out Cruyff on the left though).

Fillol; Thuram, Perfumo, Passarella, Marinho; Overath, Beckenbauer, Rivelino; Jairzinho, Muller, Best
Bench: Zoff, Maldini, Ball, Kempes, Lineker

I know it's European - but a lot of your don't even feature here:

http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/best-x-players-of-y.html#vi-rw

pipita said...

Ebren

Actually forgot to mention that I wasnt including Cuyff either. Re Garrincha, as Ive discussed with Miro several times, I cant really consider to have seen him play enough. From the few clips I ve seen on 58 and 62 he seemed truly amazing, but Id be inclined to replace him for Jairzinho. Thanks for the RSSSF site, Ive actually visited it several times as it contains some really comprehensive, and rare, stats from many different countries

postern said...

andrewm: i'm not suggesting Maradona cheated every time he played, but it only takes one instance of cheating to be labelled a cheat. five years blemish-free football and then you can be referred to as a former-cheat?

anyway, how about a 'Ref's Worst Nightmare 11'?

Ebren said...

Postern, now we're talking.

Schumacher in goal. I don't think there can be any arguments there.

Pipo Inzaghi up front. Ably supported by Rivaldo and some weird combination of Robben/Ronaldo.

Keane in the midfield - when he isn't cheating, he's screaming in the ref's face.

Ratin anyone - the man impossible to send off.

Any more for any more

postern said...

was it Abel Xavier who handled on the line in the Euro 2000 semi against France, then led the Portuguese kicking off? a handful. he'd make the 11

Ebren said...

Josip Simunic - because two bookings won't see him sent off (take a bow Mr Poll) and Jan Venegoor of Hesselink, because booking him takes ten minutes.

guitougoal said...

postern, ebren, bluebetis, greengrass, offside, everybody, if we have to make an evaluation about an athlete what should comes first it's is athletic ability,in this regard Diego Maradona has proven with his dribbling full speed, his accurate passing, his capability to hold the ball long enough to free a teammate that he was one the best who ever play the game.He was voted best footballer of the 20th century in an internet poll
which is more significant than a FIFA award.What he accomplished with Napoli goes far beyond any other footbalistic performance.Trust has nothing to do with athletes performances.

guitougoal said...

Blueinbetis, michael essien is definitely ghanian.

greengrass said...

ebren -
show me a system that George Best doesn't fit!

postern -
your comment on how easy it is to be labelled a cheat for one single instance of cheating reminds me of the story of the man who (only once!)
had intimate relations with a sheep.

gg

pipita said...

Postern

Okay, your on. Ref's XI nightmare

Chillavert; Ruggeri, Hunter, Matterazzi, V Jones; Bremner, Stiles, Rattin, Schuster; Edmundo, DiCanio

andrewm said...

Postern, sorry if I sounded a bit pompous there. I just think there are levels of cheating. Yes, Diego is a cheat, but I can't accept that he disgraced his sport in the way Johnson did.

Diego gave so much pleasure to so many through his sheer brilliance, and that is how most will remember him. Johnson deceived and betrayed every sports fan on the planet, systematically and shamelessly - that is ALL he ever did.

guitougoal said...

Sorry to be redundant but the topic:- "he is a cheat first , a skillfull player second"- reflects a misconception of how the fans judge a football player .They do it for the skills he showed on the field and the unique and unforgettable spectacle he performed not for his moral behaviour.

andrewm said...

If Michael Jordan had won one of his NBA titles with some kind of blatantly unfair move (sorry, don't know enough about basketball to give a good example) then he might not be quite the revered figure around the world that he is - his overall image would be tarnished - but sports fans would remember him as a great genius, first and foremost.

If Jordan was found to have taken performance enhancers throughout his entire career, he would be a disgraced figure in the eyes of everyone.

Big, big difference.

paulita said...

I don't know if you have the chance to see a painting called "la venganza de los angeles" (the revenge of the angels) of daniel pellagata. a romantic picture of the hand of god.

guitougoal said...

andrewn, I do agree with the perception that we have based on the player's values and how it does affect his image.Diego's controversial life doesn't help his image. However he his and has to be regarded as one of the best ever.

andrewm said...

guitou, if the Hand of God had never happened and Diego's career had otherwise been exactly as it has been, including all the madness off the field - and even with the controversial sending home from USA '94 - he would be loved by every sports fan on the planet. One sorry incident has soured a lot of people's opinions, which I think is a great shame. I don't excuse what he did, but it's not like he was some kind of force for evil in the game. He was a genius, an absolute marvel to watch. It's sad if people can't appreciate that.

MotM said...

Hmm... Excellent debate.

That Refs' nightmare XI would make anyone wake up screaming.

Really don't know why Hoddle is so revered and Reidy not rated. Look at their records.

BlueinBetis said...

Pipita, Mouth,

never commentated on the great Reid's tackling. His running was the problem.

Just discovered how to do italics. You will have to forgive me. Playing.

How many current footballers do you think are doing enough to be warranted in the best ever XI? Drogba? Ronaldo the winker? Messy? Not now, but in the future, are they good enough now? What do you think? Have we plateaud? Is that it? Will anyone be better than Maradona? I'm interested to know. Who/what do you think?

Michael Essien. No! He's from Chelsea, the only team that can beat Man Utd. You heard it here first. He is a Chelseaian. Like Drogba... Blue blood. It always wins through.

GET IN!!!!

bluedaddy said...

You blue beauties!!

Put this up for posting on its own but they're obviously all in bed at Pseuds Towers or slobbering over Man U scraping past Roma:

I'd been feeling pretty confident about the away leg after getting my knickers in a twist about the first leg at the Bridge. "Be strong" assured PW75 on GU. And he was right. Unable to view or listen to the game, and unwilling to tolerate that muppet Scott Murray on GU MBM, I had to settle for the occasional update on the score, and look forward to the second leg on glorious ITV with SCREAMIN! PETE DRURY and Jim Rosenthal, who would be the perfect host for the end of the world show.

The day was a busy one. Back late last night from visiting the in-laws in Devon, and tired from a four and half hour journey in fourth gear (fifth had taken the fifth, and refused to engage for fear of incriminating the whole gearbox). Mrs BD off to work early; kids to be dispatched across town to play with friends while (Blue)daddy snatches a couple of hours to work. Enough with the school holidays already! Still there's always the match tonight.
Quick call to trusty mechanic; sums vary from 'ouch!' to 'jesus, how much?' to 'fuck me that car has got to go!'. Get to work to find the volunteers had worked like trojans over the weekend and the shop was immaculate. Good. Two phone calls to find that I had to go on more pointless training courses. Not good.

Spend close to an hour stuck in traffic collecting kids. House a total shit heap and sister due at eleven pm with her bloke and three kids. Boil a ham in apple and mango juice. Buy a Saab impulsively on Ebay for a grand. Do the washing. Feed the kids and their mate. 75 mins til match. House even more trashed by the kids' picnic game. Find out car wasn't really for sale. Get grumpy but at least am saved the stress of telling Mrs BD about buying a car blind with money we don't really have. Mrs BD rings to say she will be back late. As in 8.30 late. As in not til half time late.

Attempt to clean house, put kids to bed, write email to Ebay welcher, get washing off the line, change all the beds, blow up air bed. Bollocks. Game has started. Check scores. Utd three up. No goals at the Mestalla. Tell kids no stories, mop up the resulting tears. Remember one small cold beer in fridge. Mentally open it. Half time. Bollocks. One down. Bollocks wank bollocks. Be strong. You predicted victory BD and victory it will be. Ebay welcher says he meant to take car off ebay auction but has had skin grafts, is disabled, had a bereavement etc. Says I can have the car as per.

Mrs BD gets back. V tired. V stressed. V not too happy to see the messy house and not exactly ecstatic to hear of my independent motoring decision-making. Calm her down. Listen sympathetically to her working woes, half make tea. Watch clock tick away with increasing despondency. Open beer. Turn on TV. One all. Ace. Watch last 18 minutes. Chelsea dominate entirely. Essien scores a belter. We win. Bring on PSV!

BD

BlueinBetis said...

Walk out of work, in Spain, after listening to fourteen year old trainee John Motson's tell me in Spanish, and broken English that "Chelsea can't do it against the Spanish" 1-0 down. Listen to (very partisan) commentary in Spanish. On how "mechanical" Chelsea are. No invention...blah, blah,blah. Radio goes silent. "madre de dios" 1-1. Sit on bus. More partisan crap... bus pulls into my road, Spanish commentators praying for extra time. Because then they can "change the system" Canizares saves a certain goal. Chelsea are "lucky" because they have bought great players, and can "play badly and win." Radio goes silent again...

"Madre de Dios"

Essien (the Luxembourgian) scores. Radio silent. BiB, screams at the top of his voice "Tooooooooooma" - "have it". And gets off the bus, knowing the blues are there. Also thinking - Ha ha, many Spaniards will have got off this bus thinking Valencia won. Hahaha.

Blue Daddy. Winning by one goal is all that counts my friend. As our friends in the North will very soon find out. Seven, schmeven. You're all shitting yourselves and you know you are.

Blue is the colour!

BlueinBetis said...

You bought a Saab for grand?
It will break. Never buy anything second hand from Scandanavia. When was the last time you saw a used Nokia, eh?

Only buy things from Scandanavia if they start with "Tore Andre..." next you'll be telling me it's a Laudrup. Only one previous owner...

guitougoal said...

BiB, what about liverpool?

bluedaddy said...

Port in northern England. Occasional musical interest. European City of Culture 2008. Have I missed anything out?

bluedaddy said...

Oh and Postern, nice try but cheating is what you do when you aren't good enough to do otherwise. Maradona scored the first because he should and the second because he could.

guitougoal said...

what about the beatles

Stillbanned said...

Ah, my true blue friends, it is lovely to see you so happy!
I would love to meet you in the CL final, but fear that the Pool will shaft you in the semis.
As for us, I think we will have to beat Milan (Cally, where are you when you're needed?)

gg

offside said...

Looks like our resident blues didn't even get to watch the game properly... that's too bad. It was very enjoyable, and I was ready for another 30mn of it. I'm glad French TV chose to broadcast this one, as I'm not crazy about football games with tennis scores.

I also love to watch football first thing in the morning. I got up just in time to make coffee, spread the jam, turn the TV on, then revert to horizontal for another 90 minutes.

The rest of my day was just as good, by the way. Took little Offspring snorkeling, then built a sand castle that was a cross between la Sagrada Familia and Fort Alamo. Superb sunset, too.

Sorry, back to football, now that my favourites are out, I need to find another team to put on my jinxlist... Chelsea were really impressive. I could see them going all the way.

And Betis, didn't I say Michael Essien was gooooooood? He might be a Chelseaian now but don't forget he was a Lyonnaian not so long ago. Sounds like a Mercenarian to me.

tahititurtle said...

Actually, it was more like the Alamo AFTER the mexicans had waded in.

backingu said...

offside,
thanks for choosing Chelsea!

The prospect of United winning the three titles that are of any interest
by beating Chelsea is truly mouth-watering.

Then again, we might finish up with sweet f.a.

gg

P.S.
BD,
I have bought a used SAAB or two; great cars in Arctic conditions!

marcela said...

ha, ha!
excellent thread - sorry to only come in at the chelsea end... so much to say on the maradona issue.

for now, though, just this:
postern, LOL (or mdr if you prefer)

offside said...

Maradona has left hospital.

Looks like he's cheated death again.

Fair play to him.

BlueinBetis said...

Offside,

Now Peter Shilton may noy be the most handsome, or charming person in the world; but I think comparing him to one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse is a bit harsh.

Ray Parlour, now he is pestilence, that's for sure.

Any other offers?

offside said...

What!?

Where did I say anything about Shilton? Stilton cheese, yeah, that's disgusting.

BlueinBetis said...

Listen my Gallic friend, you are in noooooooo position to mock cheeses.

Shilton, you said that Maradona had cheated death again. I naturally assumed you were talking about the first goal.....

Eh? You weren't. Oh. Thanks, that'll be my coat then....

Ray Parlour is still ugly though. Like Pestilence.

offside said...

ok, ok, I didn't get it. It was late. Maybe it was the Hawaiian rum. I'm sorry. (covers his head in ashes - rocking motion)

Can't mock English cheeses? Why not?

Tweet it, digg it