The Dirty Game

17 Apr
Soccer has never been a clean game and never will be. It’s original form allowed hacking. Long before the soccer craft was engineered for style and class, hunks of meat took chops at each other. Reputations were built around violence and threats. Men whose shadow was aggression found the soccer field inviting, a safe place to kick the living daylights out of a fellow mortal. Getting sent off was almost heroic.

Football slowly evolved. The gene attached to success excited players more than stiffing opponents. It became the primal motive. Talent appeared, style dressed, someone called it the beautiful game. Emerging came folks like Pele and Maradona, the dominants of the footballer species. Their prodigies of Messi and Ronaldo continue to push things forwards.

The single-minded hacker was to go the way of the Neanderthals. But before entering the museum, some took the opportunity to commit one final assault on the playmaker, the new man. Pele was kicked off the field during the 1966 World Cup Finals in England. He wept in shock. He vowed never to play again in a World Cup. Four years later, he painted soccer beautiful at Mexico ‘70: beauty over brute. In 1983, Spain’s Andoni Goikoetxea, affectionately known as the Butcher of Bilbao, was to carve up Diego Maradona. Having sliced the Argentine’s ankle to shreds in a coup de main, the Butcher was reported to have displayed his victim’s ruined cleat in a glass case on top of his TV set. Maradona recovered to dazzle the world with his genius, and Hand of God, winning the 1986 World Cup.

But examples of the nasty, brutish and short can still be had for those who savor a bit of the old school menace. On Saturday during a US Major League Soccer match, New York Red Bulls defender, Rafa Marquez, clobbered San Jose Earthquakes midfielder, Shea Salinas, with a mauling and a thinly veiled boot to the chest. Broken clavicle. Marquez’s rap goes back to the 2002 World Cup Finals when he head-butted (above) American striker Cobi Jones into the following week, a crack that ranks as one of the most brutal in World Cup history.

Check out below, Marquez breaking Salinas’s collar bone in four places

Kick Alan Black on Twitter


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: