Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m all for goal celebrations; usually the wackier the better. I don’t really buy into the whole “act like you’ve done it before” routine where a player barely acknowledged that anything of note has occurred. In fact, I find that more than a bit pretentious.
I don’t care who you are, scoring a goal is a rarity in football and NOT celebrating it is simply unnatural. I mean, it’s a wonderful moment; and suppressing your happiness and passion during that moment is odd to me.
Obviously there are always exceptions. For instance, if your team is down by 5 when you score, you probably shouldn’t get too excited.
Also some minimum level of class should be observed. Something that was decidedly lacking from one of the matches I watched last weekend.
After scoring his team’s second goal against Tecos this Saturday, Chivas forward Marco Fabian decided to celebrate by acting out the execution of a teammate.
Given the challenges Mexico is presently suffering through regarding drug cartel-related violence, this was not a particularly wise choice. Gun control and murders are very real problems in that part of the world, so making such a display (on a stage that many Mexicans must view as an escape from their troubles) is both sad and insensitive.
Fabian is an incredibly talented footballer (he went on to score a hat-trick in Saturday’s game) with a considerable following; many of whom are young, impressionable footballers that would love to follow in his footsteps. While watching this farce, I couldn’t help but think what kind of message it was sending to them.
I’m sure Fabian didn’t mean to be cruel (he has made a formal apology since the incident) but it’s sad to see a player of such quality demeaning himself this way.
Be passionate. Be happy. Express yourself. CELEBRATE…But be smart about it.
A fan and good friend of the blog sent me an interesting article this week (Will Roberts stand up). Here’s a link if you’re interested.
For those too lazy to read, the writer briefly describes not only the role typically associated with players that wear the number 10 jersey but also the mystique behind it.
He then asks why England as a nation has struggled to produce this type of footballer over the years. (Keep in mind this is a BBC article.)
While I did enjoy the article and believe the author brings up valid points and poses valid questions there are some things I don’t totally agree with.
In my (not-so-humble) opinion, the key ingredient of a true #10 is not creativity but intelligence. Creativity, vision, and all the other attributes that are normally associated with #10s are merely a function of intelligence.
For me, the #10 is synonymous with Maradona, Garrincha, Messi, Cruyff, Pele, Zidane, Platini, Baggio, Riquelme, Pirlo, and Ronaldinho to name a few. Players that astound you with the choices they make on the field.
When it comes to English football, I think the author has over looked the likes of Paul Gascoigne and Paul Scholes; both of whom I idolized as a boy and still consider quality #10s. Even today, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are bright young players that fit the playmaker mold.
To answer the author’s question, there is no question that England produces fewer #10s than other major footballing nations. I chalk it down to the style of play encouraged in English football.
In this style of play, speed is king. The ball moves from goalkeeper to striker almost directly and at a break-neck pace. It also emphasizes wing players who are relied on to provide service for the team’s forwards. The process completely bypasses the #10 who traditionally plays in a central position.
As eluded to before, Arsenal seems to be the only team producing English #10s because they’re the only team that doesn’t play in the English fashion.
It’s a shame because these players have become the key to success in football today. Look at the top three nations in football: Holland, Germany, and Spain. These sides are built around the likes of Sneijder, Fabregas, Gotze, van der Vaart, Iniesta, Xavi, Ozil, Kroos, the list goes on.
A good #10 is (and will always be) the key to unlocking the pragmatic defenses that have become so popular in modern football.