This week’s decomposed ditty from football’s afterlife is the third instalment of ‘The Obituary’ series, where one of our posthumous pundits puts forward a eulogy for their favourite player in football history.
In football, as in life, there are different types of people. There are the do-ers, the high energy action men who get things done and don’t wait around to consider petty things such as reasons or consequences. Then you have the artists, whose sole mission in life is the creation of the divine, to represent the beauty of life though music, paint, and football. Also, the journeymen, who move from place to place, never to settle and destined to roam the land, from Crystal Palace to the Shed End. However, once life has rendered your spirit separate from your physical form, you are destined to float around the heavenly u-bend for all eternity, taking with you only your mind and a pale spectre of your former physical self.
So it stands to reason that it is the more intellectually endowed amongst us that often make the best of the afterlife, spending their time in football’s Valhalla mulling over the profoundly important issues of existence, such as why 4-4-2 is so rubbish these days, or how many times Steve Bruce must have been hit in the face to end up with a nose as hideous as this. It is fitting then, that this instalment of ‘The Obituary’ features one of the most intelligent and cerebral footballers in history. Zinedine Zidane not only conquered club football with his magisterial midfield machinations, but he guided France to World Cup glory on home soil in 1998 through the power of his mighty monkish noggin. So who better to provide us with an elegy for the genius of Zizou than one of the greatest thinkers of all time, Albert Einstein!
“My special theory of relativity proves that the faster you move, the slower time moves compared to that of a stationary observer” began Einstein’s ghost, still sporting a moustache almost as big as his gargantuan brain. “When Zidane was on the pitch, his awareness and footwork seemed to slow down time for him, yet speed it up for the opposition, who were almost always stationary observers.
“Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds. Zidane had wonderful vision and a spectacular football brain, but he was enough of an artist to draw freely upon his imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. Take this goal in the 2002 Champions League Final for example. It would not be possible with knowledge and technical ability alone. It is Zidane’s sublime technique coupled with his extraordinary imagination that made this goal possible. Imagination is why players with practically no knowledge whatsoever, like Paul Merson for example, were so devastating through their use of imagination and creativity.
“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. Zidane’s genius wasn’t boundless, as this clip proves, but using his colossal football brain to clobber Marco Materazzi 2006 World Cup final was infinitely stupid. However, as I always used to say, a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new, an accusation which no one could make against Zinedine Zidane.”
(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)