Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How did you get three alliance approved assistants on such short notice?

Sergio “Kun” Agüero, Leo Messi, Fernando Torres. Those magic players. You know the ones…the players whose dazzling abilities seem to transcend our physical plane. The players whose skill and talent seem so unreal, that even the most basic of their feats seem impossible. All three of these aforementioned super heroes of football posses this something extra, it’s just that instead of fighting crime or saving the world…they chose to use their superhuman prowess to play football.

Messi has it for sure; he’s faster than a speeding bullet. When he whizzes and weaves in and out of defenders to make his Maradona-esque runs, the only thing we often see is a vapor trail. He finds the back of the net, leaving the opposition and us flabbergasted, wondering how the F.U.C. it happened. He’s at the corner flag celebrating, and we are left with a half vision of the turn he made four moves before the goal. It’s at this point we scratch our head, and realize that it’s magic, that there is no possible way he got from there to here without us and the other team seeing it.

Torres definitely has it. It’s not his speed though; he only looks to have that in spades. With Torres it’s something that has always struck me as (forgive this reference, please forgive) being closest to the Matrix’s own bullet time. That move he makes as Gerrard’s clever pass threads the ball perfectly through the back four to land just at Nando’s feet, is simply misdirection. It’s a trick, so that us “how’d he do that’s?” don’t see the real slight of hand. What we don’t see, or more importantly what we can’t see, is that Torres can control the space and time in his immediate vicinity. He warps and bends the fabric of his immediate surroundings so that what looks like a clever move, is really just a matter of a time shift in which he slows the opponents reaction times and leaves the goal keeper in the proverbial dust.

“Kun” Agüero, at 21 has it on and off the pitch. The dude already gets grand supreme being points for making a baby with Maradona’s daughter to give the legend his first grandson, and that’s just off the pitch. On it, Agüero excels at exhibiting this same magic his peers Leo and Fernando employ with regularity. It frightens me to think what will happen if and when a big club shells out the 50 million odd euros it will take to pry him away from Atletico and bring him to a fishpond more stocked with talent. He has some playmakers at Madrid, true, but even Torres had those and look how many goals he scored in his first season at Liverpool.

But I digress; we were speaking of footballing magic, and not big money transfers. Agüero’s magic lies not in an ability to be faster than fast, or to have control of time and space in his immediate vicinity. Agüero’s magic lies in the fact that the football is merely an extension of himself. It is like a fifth appendage, and he controls how close or how far it lies from his foot. He controls how fast it skips across the playing surface and how close it gets to defenders. Agüero is tethered to the football on an invisible leash, and this is why just when we think he’s going to lose the ball between the defender and the goal, he gets that near impossible off balance shot off and scores that impossible goal.

On August 25th, 2009 when Atletico Madrid played Panathinaikos in the second leg of their Champions League qualifiers, the world bore witness to just a little taste of Agüero’s magic. He had already scored a magnificent winner in the first leg, and when he received the ball just outside of the penalty area while surrounded by three defenders, it should have come as no surprise that he would have no trouble eluding any of them. Agüero dribbles quickly moving the ball a half a yard from his left foot. The first defender is so confused, he falls over on himself, and Agüero’s magic allows him to pull the football closer to his body as if catching up with it. The next move is easy, because Agüero was paying attention as he often does. He knows that the second defender has had to pick himself off of the turf. The defender was watching the move Agüero made, and not expecting him to come out of the defensive fray that surrounded our special player, he has lost his balance and fallen. Agüero dribbles towards the edge of the penalty area, and his defender is barely able to track back to him in time to commit a tackle that can at best be described as a day late and a dollar short. Agüero has anticipated the tackle and the shot is off and the football is in the back of the net, he runs to celebrate and the defender can only throw his arms up in frustration. Could have, should have, and would have my man.

So, you say you still don’t’ believe in magic, have a look for yourself. It’s the last goal and it happens about 2:40 seconds into the reel.

This is the first post by Christian Conlon. Sharing his passion for the game.

No comments:

Post a Comment