Tuesday, October 26

Sergio Ramos: how do you fire a legend? | sports

This is how it is done. Ramos leaves a great trajectory and impressive signs. Statistics speak of the first; of the second, the goal of Lisbon. The weight of his empire in the dressing room and on the field has been so great that it will take some getting used to the emptiness it leaves. A titan is leaving, but the issue is not that, but the question that leaves its march: how should a legend leave? There is no rule, as always when the rational collides with the emotional. Either the club looks bad by firing the player from the coldness of reason, or the player looks bad by leaving late, when the brilliance of his splendor has faded. In football, a life simulator, things begin and end. And the end hurts. They say that at Ramos’ farewell we have seen two great actors. If that is so, it must be said that they interpreted the play divinely.

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Difficult and good. Nostalgic for the world, face it: the game is getting better and better. I don’t say cuter, I say better. The European Championship is showing us that the players are up to the challenge of the new football. Imposing physiques that collide like trains, tactics that close teams like oysters in defense and put pressure on the closest keeper and possible receivers like an army, games with few ups and downs because the five changes renew energy … But soccer is played with the ball and the only way to find spaces is by moving it with speed and discretion. It is at this point where the players have pressed the technical accelerator achieving great precision at very high speed. Everything is more intense than fun, because nobody can think with the ball at their feet, they threaten less and there is practically no dribbling. But since when has difficult been fun?

One among all. In the midst of that choral, planned and athletic football, a crack. Among the youngsters, none like the patient and flashing Mbappé, for whom five interventions are enough to unleash his power, stop short, fake like a swindler and choose the destination of the ball. Against Germany they annulled one of those goals that make you hate VAR, because it puts one of those works of art that authorizes even an injustice into oblivion. Mbappé is inside the area heeled to the left and surrounded by three men. He feints with the ball stuck to his foot, supposedly to defend himself from the harassment of defenders, but in reality he is taking action for something unexpected. They are guys who have the gift of looking near and far at the same time, so that he turns the dribble into a shot that goes into the only gap, that only he saw, at the far post. The VAR annulled the goal, but what it cannot is annul the crack.

They don’t understand us, but they … Messi keeps trying with the Argentina team. This time it is in the Copa América where he seeks, with exciting loyalty, the title that is denied him. Against Chile he scored a goal from a free kick and shouted it, as a tribute, like Maradona. Immediately a beautiful story came to mind that the great Fernando Signorini tells and that unites the last two geniuses of Argentine football. Leo was practicing free throws and Diego approached him to give him a wonderful piece of advice: “When you hit the ball, don’t take her foot off so fast because otherwise she doesn’t know what you want.” It is implicit that Diego gave understanding to the ball, to which he spoke in his ear all his life. They say that when Messi’s free kick entered the corner, the ball was heard saying: “Do you want it that way?”

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