Tuesday, 21 June 2011



Roberto Baggio, the divine ponytail and grandmaster diva

In my previous post, I talked a bit about that rare soccer gem called the fantasista. What I neglected to mention was that while these kinds of players have the upside of being insanely creative geniuses, they have a great downside. They happen to be prima donnas. We all know genius comes with its quirks, and there’s a thin line between genius and madness sometimes. This isn’t generalization. Yes, you do get some geniuses who are a picture of humility; and you get some crap footballers that are full of it. This is a general guideline. Introducing; the Guidelines to perfecting the art of being a soccer primma donna.


The fashion statement

Any prima donna worth his salt must have a fashion item that separates him from the hoi poloi of the soccer world. The most preferred is the ‘Alice band’ to rein in the flowing locks on his head. The Alice band comes in handy when he scores a great goal and it magically goes off as he is mobbed by adoring teammates. At the end of all the ruckus(which he can’t understand because scoring great goals is second nature to him), he takes a full minute to re-adjust it, and the ref must wait for this impromptu make-up session to end before re-starting the game.

These fashion statements vary from the creativity of the player to how important they reckon they are to their team. Del Piero has the untucked shirt. Platini played with socks down, sans shin guards. Juan Veron sported a trademark knee band on his left knee.  Nesta had a pirate’s mark on his face when he turned out for Lazio. Baggio had his captain’s armband on his left bicep.This is also not his last appearance on the list.

Fashion consciousness.

Closely connected to the above. You must appear as suave and well put together as possible at every public event.

‘Designer stubble’ is a good start. This means a normally clean shaven person letting their beard grow for a few days just to give the impression they don’t care about their appearance. Also, having a deal with an Italian fashion house doesn’t hurt. This way, you look good without paying for your own clothes. On the other hand you could go for the absolutely ridiculous rapper/ teen look associated with the South Americans (Ronaldinho, Anderson etc). The point is, make an impression.

Free kicks and penalties.

No one, and I repeat, no one on your team should ever entertain the idea of taking set piece responsibility when you are on the field of play. This sacrilege should be treated like high treason, with the possible punishment of being transfer listed ASAP. In the event that you horribly miscue a set piece, look at the ground, or your boots in disgust, it can’t possibly be your fault.

If you misplace a pass, point out where you wanted your teammate to be and look at him with a sympathetic yet disappointed look i.e. “You didn’t read the pass but I understand your limitations, I’ll make it simpler next time”.  Oh.. lest I forget, when you feel you’ve been fouled, don’t wait for the ref’s decision, just pick up the ball and walk over to the referee to discuss what punishment the offender should get. Zizou did it numerously, and got away with it.

Free speech.

Mostly applies to fantasistas. Adhering to team tactical formations isn’t for people of your footballing IQ. You know where you need to be at all times. Demand to be given a free role by the coach. In fact, if the coach doesn’t seem to have a handle on things, just take over his job as well; or go the Mido route and call him a donkey.... 

This actually happened at the AFCON final 2006 between Egypt and Ivory Coast. With game level, and time expiring, the Egyptian coach Hassan Shehata decided to replace Mido with Amir Zaki. Mido didn't appreciate this and tore into the coach. They had to be physically separated by the bench players and technical staff. Rumor has it Mido called Shehata a 'donkey" among other nasties. In a cool twist of fate, Zaki went on score the winning goal and Mido went on to celebrate the Cup with his mates, albeit with a foolish grin.

Spirituality and symbolism.

You need to get yourself into this religion stuff, everyone’s doing it. It should preferably be Oriental or New Age. Hell, Baggio, a native Italian, was a practicing Buddhist Remember to do some sort of spiritual gesture before the match, and every time you score. These simpletons need to know that you are ordained by a higher power to lead them.

Also, choose a jersey number that has either been worn by other greats like you; or one that means something to you personally or spiritually. Stick with this number at all costs. You may even refuse to sign for a club if they refuse to grant you the desired number. No. 10 almost always never fails! It is rumored that when David Beckham moved to Real Madrid, then captain Raul was offered a six figure sum to hand over his no. 7 shirt to the Englishman. Something even more bizarre happened at Inter Milan in the late 90s: Inter signed Azzuri talisman Roberto Baggio- the Buddhist- who was allergic to shirts that didn’t bear the no.10. Ronaldo da Lima was already in possession of the no.10 because on his arrival, he found Ivan Zamorano as the resident no.9. The solution; Baggio and Ronaldo got 10 and 9 resbectively because of their diva seniority. Zamorano, not to be out-bitched, had a clever solution; he got shirt no.18, with a twist. There was a ‘+’ sign between the 1 and the 8. This arithmetically still left him the no.9. This wasn’t a script from America’s next top model, I promise.(see below)

Yes. That's a mathematical problem on his shirt!


Defending and tracking back

There are people for those kinds of menial tasks and it isn’t you. Period. As matter of fact they have don’t know jack shit about skin and hair care products and they look like this...

Getting nutmegged

Just like above, there’s people those kinds of things get done to, and it isn’t you. Since you hardly ever cross into the defensive third of the field, it’s very unlikely to happen to you. In the scandalous event that someone nutmegs you, just kick the bloody wiseacre who has done it and smile at the ref, he’ll understand. A classic example came during last the 09/10 season’s Italian Cup final second leg. With Inter leading Roma 1-0 at Stadio Olympico and time running out, Mourinho brought on Balotelli to waste some time. Balotelli, being Balotelli, proceeded to juggle the ball near the corner flag. In attendance was Francesco Totti. Needless to say Totti kicked him square round the backside ( it would have been the nuts if he was facing the other way) and accepted the red card without question. The kick gave him that much satisfaction. Long story short prima donnas don’t take the shit lightly.

Having a dirt jersey.

All the above points explain clearly why your jersey can’t be dirty. Get a change of jersey at half time if you must. Besides, there’s about 10 others on the bench just for you; and the stadium is littered with ten of thousands of your replica jerseys.

Good luck to all aspiring prima donnas. Before you embark on this project, please hone your skills. Managers tend not to tolerate these quirks if you can’t do something truly amazing. 


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