19. Galeano Soccer Extracts 3

19. Galeano Soccer Extracts 3 - 128 A goal by rooha ET was...

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Unformatted text preview: 128 A goal by rooha ET was 1969. Pefiarol was playing Estudiantes from La Plata. Rocha was at the center of the field, marked by two playerS, with his back to the enemy area, when he got the ball from Matosas. He put it to sleep on his right foot, spun around with the ball still there, slipped it behind his other foot and escaped his markers, Echecopar and Taverna. He made three quick dashes, left the ball to Spencer and continued running. The return pass came in high in the semi—circle. He trapped it with his chest, broke free of Madero and Spadaro and volleyed a shot before it hit the ground. The goalkeeper, Flores, didn’t even see it. Pedro Rocha slid along like a snake in the grass. He , played joyfully and his joy was infectious: the joy of the play, the joy of the goal. He did whatever he wanted with the ball, and she believed every bit of it. my poor beloved mother AT THE END of the sixties, the poet Jorge Enrique Adoum returned to Ecuador after a long absence. As soon as he arrived, he performed an obligatory ritual in the city of Quito: he went to the stadium to see the Aucas play. It was an impor— tant match and the stands were packed. i? 3: I}; _v” I ’5 Before the kicleoif, there was a minute of silence for the mother of the referee who had died that morning. Everyone Stood, eVeryone was silent. Then someone made a speech praising the dedication of this exemplary sportsman who was going to officiate, performing his duty even in the most diffi— cult of circumstances. At the center of the field, his head bowed, the man in black acknowledged the sustained applause of the crowd. Adoum blinked, he pinched himself, he couldn’t believe it. What country was he in? So much had changed. Before, people’s only concern for the referee was to call him a son of a bitch. And the match began. At fifteen minutes Aucas scored and the stadium exploded. But the referee disallowed the goal due to an off—side, and the thoughts of the crowd turned immediately to his deceased mater: “Orphan of a bitch!” roared the stands. tears don’t flow from a handkerchief SOCCER, METAPHOR for war, at times turns into real war. Then “sudden death” is no longer just a dramatic way of deciding a tied match. These days, soccer fanaticism has come to occupy the place formerly reserved for religious fervor, patriotic ardor and political passion. As often occurs with religion, 129 150 (l 131 patriotism and politics, soccer can bring tensions to a boil, hatred. In Tegucigalpa the slogan was, “Honduran don’t Sit still, grab a stick and a Salvadoran kill.” In San Salvador: “Teach those barbarians a lesson.” The lords of land and war didn’t lose a drop of blood, while two barefoot peoples avenged their identical misfortunes by killing each other with and many horrors are committed in its name. Some believe men possessed by the demon of the ball foam at the mouth, and frankly that image presents a fairlyr accurate picture of the frenzied fan. But even the most indig. nant of critics would concede that in most cases violence patriotic fervor. doesn’t originate in soccer, any more than tears flow from a handkerchief. In 1969, war broke out between Honduras and E1 Salvador, two small and very poor Central American coun— tries that for over a century had been accumulating reasons to distrust each other. Each had always served as the magical explanation for the other's problems. Hondurans don’t have goal by work? Because Salvadorans come and take their jobs. Salvadorans are hungry? Because Hondurans mistreat them. 11‘ was in 1969. Santos was playing Vasco da Gama in Each country believed their neighbor was the enemy, and the Maracana Stadium. incessant military dictatorships of each did all they could to Pelé crossed the field in a flash, evading his opponents without ever touching the ground, and when he was about to enter the goal with the ball he was tripped. The referee whistled a penalty. Pele didn’t want to take it. A hundred thousand people forced him to, screaming out his name. perpetuate the error. This war was called the Soccer War because the sparks that set off the conflagration were struck in the stadiums of Te gucigalpa and San Salvador. The trouble began during the play—offs for the '70 World Cup. There were tussles, a few injuries, several deaths. A week later, the two countries broke Pelé had scored many goals in Maracana. Prodigious goals, like the one in 1961 against Fluminense when he drib— bled past seven defenders and the goalie. But this penalty was different: people felt there was something sacred about it. That’s why the noisiest crowd in the world fell silent. The Glamor disappeared as if obeying an order: no one spoke, no One breathed. All of a sudden the stands seemed empty and so off relations. Honduras expelled a hundred thousand Salvadoran peasants who had always worked in that country s plantings and harvests; Salvadoran tanks crossed the border. The war lasted a week and killed fOur thousand people. The two governments, dictatorships forged at a US. factory called the School of the Americas, fanned the fires of mutual 132 did the field. Pele and the goalie, Andrada, were alone. By themselves, they waited. Pele stood by the ball resting on the fa hot knife through butter. When he stopped, his opponents got lost in the labyrinths his legs embroidered. When he penalty spot. Twelve paces beyond stood Andrada, hunched jumped, he climbed into the air as if there were a staircase. over at the ready, between the two posts. when he executed a free kick, his opponents in the wall The goalkeeper managed to graze the ball, but Pelé nailed wanted to turn around to face the net, so as not to miss it to the net. It was his thousandth goal. No other player in the the goal. history of professional soccer had ever scored athousand goals. He was born in a poor home in a far~off village, and he Then the multitude came back to life and jumped like a reached the summit of power and fortune where blacks were child overjoyed, lighting up the night. not allOWed. Off the field he never gave a minute of his time and a coin never fell from his pocket. But those of us who were lucky enough to see him play received aims of an extra- ordinary beauty: moments so worthy of immortality that . they make us believe immortality exists. pelé A HUNDRED songs name himIAt seventeen he was champion of the world and king of soccer. Before he was twenty the gov— _ ernment of Brazil named him a“nationa1treasure" that could _ the WOI‘Id C" [J not be exported. He won three world championships with the Brazilian team and two with the club Santos. After his thousandth goal, he kept on counting. He played more than IN HAGUE, cinema puppet master Jiri Trnka was dying; so was Bertrand Russell in London, after nearly a century of very thirteen hundred matches in eighty countries, one game after ' lively living. After only twenty years the poet Rugama was cut down in Managua, fighting alone against one of the Somoza dictatorship's battalions. The world lost its music: another at a punishing rate, and he scored nearly thirteen hundred goals. Once he held up a war: Nigeria andlBiafra ' declared a truce to see him play. the Beatles broke up, due to an overdose of success, and due to To see him play was worth a truce and a lot more. - an overdose of drugs guitarist Jimi Hendrix and singer Janis When Pelé ran hard he cut right through his opponents like Joplin took their leave. 133 13‘1- K” A hurricane was ripping through Pakistan while an 1 .‘m, "but when I landed, I could see Pelé was still floating in earthquake erased fifteen cities from the Peruvian Andes. In I- the air,” Washington no one believed in the Vietnam War anymore, I Four world champions, Brazil, Italy, Germany and but the war kept dragging on with the death toll reaching ' Uruguay, waged the semi—finals. Germany took third place, million, according to the Pentagon, and the generals fleeing _ Uruguay fourth. In the final, Brazil astonished Italy by win— forwards by invading Cambodia. After losing in three previ - Hing 4—1. The British press commented: “Such beautiful soc— ous attempts, Allende was launching his campaign for the oer ought to be outlawed.” People stand up to tell the story of ' the final goal: the ball travelled through all Brazil, each of the eleven players touched it, and at last Pele, without even look— presidency of Chile, promising milk for every child and to _ nationalize the nation’s copper. Well—informed sources in Miami announced the imminent fall of Fidel Castro, it was ing, laid it out on a silver platter for Carlos Alberto coming in like a tornado to make the kill. “Torpedo” Muller from Germany led the list of scorers only a matter of hours. For the first time in history, the 2 Vatican was on strike. While employees of the Holy Father in Rome crossed their arms, in Mexico, players from sixteen with ten, followed by the Brazilian Jairzinho with seven. countries moved their legs to begin the ninth World Cup. Undefeated champions for the third time, Brazil kept the Nine teams from Europe, five from the Americas, plus Rimet Cup for good. At the end of 1983 the cup was stolen Israel and Morocco took part. In the first match, the referee and sold after being melted down to nearly two kilos of pure raised the yellow card for the first time. The yellow card, sign gold. In the display case, a copy stands in its place. of warning, and the red-card, sign of expulsion, were not the only novelties at the Mexico World Cup. The rules allowed for two substitutions duringthe course of each game. Before then, only the goalkeeper could be replaced in case of injury and it was never very hard to reduce the adversary’s number with a few well placed kicks. Images of the ’70 World Cup: the impression left by goal by jairzinho Beckenbauer as he battled to the final minute with one arm I IT was at the ’70 World Cup. Brazil was playing England. Tostao got the ball from Paulo César and scurried ahead as in a sling; the fervor of Tostfio, fresh from an eye operation and managing a sure—footed performance in every game; the aerobatics of Pele in his final World Cup. “We jumped far as he could, but all of England was spread out in the penal— together,” said Burgnich, the Italian defender who marked ty area. Even the Queen was there. Tostao eluded one, then 135 136 another and one more, then he passed the ball to Pele. Three players suffocated him on the spot. Pele pretended to press on and the three opponents went for the smoke. He put on the brakes, pivoted and left the ball on the feet of Jairzinho, who was racing in. Jairzinho had learned to shake off his markers on the sandlots of the toughest slums of Rio de Janeiro: he came on like a black bullet and evaded one Englishman, before the ball, a white bullet, crossed the goal line defended by the keeper Banks. It was the winning goal. Swaying to the rhythm of a fies— ta, Brazil’s attackers had tossed off seven guardians of the steel fortress, which simply melted under the hot breeZe blowing from the south. the fiesta THERE ARE TOWNS and villages in Brazil which have no church, but not a one lacks a soccer field. Sunday is the day of hard labor for cardiologists across the country On a normal Sunday people die of excitement during the mass of the ball. On a Sunday without soccer, people die of boredom. I When the Brazilian national team met disaster in the '66 World Cup, there were suicides, nervous breakdowns, flags at half—mast and black ribbons on doors. A procession of F dancing mourners filled the streets to bury the country’s soccer prowess in a coffin. Four years later, Brazil won the world championship for the third time and Nelson Rodrigues wrote that Brazilians were no longer afraid of being carried off by the dog—catcher, they were all ermine— caped kings in pointy crowns. In the ’70 World Cup, Brazil played a soccer worthy of her people’s yearning for celebration and craving for beauty. All the world was suffering from the mediocrity of defensive soccer which had the entire side hanging back to maintain the catemccz'o while one or two men played by themselves up front. Risk and creative spontaneity weren’t allowed. Brazil, however, was astonishing: a team on the attack, playing with four strikers, Jairzinho, Tostao, Pelé and Rivelino, sometimes increased to five and even six when Gerson and Carlos Alberto came up from the back. That steamroller pulverized Italy in the final. A quarter of a century later, such audacity would be con— sidered suicide. In the ’94 World Cup, Brazil won another final against Italy, this time decided in a penalty shoot—out after 120 minutes without a single goal. If it hadn’t been for the penalty goals, the nets would have remained untouched for all eternity. 137 138 soccer and the generals blinks AT THE VICTORY carnival in 1970, General Medici, dictator of EDUARDO ANDRES Maglioni, forward for the Argentine club Brazil, handed out cash to the players, posed for photogra— Independiente, won a spot in the Guinness Book of World phers with the trophy in his arms, and even headed a ball for Records as the player who scored the most goals in the least time. the cameras. The march composed for the team, “Forward In 1973, at the beginning of the second half of a match Brazil,” became the government’s anthem, while the image of against Gimnasia y Esgrima from La Plata, Maglioni beat Pele soaring above the field was used in TV ads that pro— claimed: "No one can stop Brazil." When Argentina won the World Cup in 1978, General Videla used the image ofKempes, the goalkeeper Guruciaga three times in one minute and fifty seconds. unstoppable as a hurricane, for exactly the same purpose. Soccer is the fatherland, soccer is power: “I am the father- land,” these military dictatorships were saying. Meanwhile, Chile’s bigwig General Pinochet named himself president of Colo—Colo, the most popular club in the country, and General Garcia Meza, who had taken over g goal by maradona Bolivia, named himself president of Wilstermann, aclub with _ a multitude of fervent fans. IT was 1973. The juvenile teams of Argentinos Juniors and River Plate faced off in Buenos Aires. Number 10 for Argentinos received the ball from his Soccer is the people, soccer is power: “I am the people,” these military dictatorships were saying. keeper, evaded River’s center forward and took off. Several players tried to block his path: he put it over the first one’s tail, between the legs of the second, and he fooled the third With a backheel. Then, Without a pause, he paralyzed the defenders, left the keeper sprawled on the ground, and walked the ball into the net. On the field stood seven crushed boys and four more with their mouths agape. That kid’s team, the Cebollitas, went undefeated for a hundred games and caught the attention of the press. One of 139 140 F K 14:1 I General Peron, who had burned his mark on Argentina’s his— tory, was on his deathbed. Dying, too, was Duke Ellington, the king of jazz. The daughter of the king of the press, Patricia Hearst, was falling in love with her kidnappers, rob~ I bing banks and denouncing her father as a bourgeois pig. the players, “Poison,” who was thirteen, declared: "We play for fun. We’ll never play for money. When there’s money in it, everybody kills themselves to be a star and that's when jeal- ousy and selfishness take over." As he spoke he had his arm around the best—loved player of all, who was also the shortest and the happiest: Diego Armando Maradona, who was twelve and had just scored Well—informed sources in Miami announced the imminent fall of Fidel Castro, it was only a matter ot'hours The Greek dictatorship was crumbling, and so was the one in Portugal, where the Revolution of the Carnations stepped out dancing to the beat of “Grandola, vila morena.” The dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet was tightening its grip that incredible goal. Maradona had the habit of sticking out his tongue when he I was on the attack. All his goals were scored with his tongue out. By night he slept with his arms around a ball and by day he 4 performed miracles with it. He lived in a poor home in a poor I neighborhood and he wanted to be an industrial technician. I on Chile, while in Spain Francisco Franco was dying in the Francisco Franco Hospital, sick with power and age. In a historic plebiscite, Italians were voting to legalize divorce, which seemed preferable to daggers, poison and other methods favored by tradition to resolve marital disputes. In a no less historic vote, the leaders of world soccer were electing Joao Havelange president of FIFA, and while in Switzerland Havelange was ousting the prestigious Stanley Rous, in Germany the tenth World Cup was getting underway. A brand new cup was on display. Though uglier than the Rimet Cup, it was nonetheless coveted by nine teams from Europe and five from the Americas, plus Australia and Zaire. The Soviet Union had lost out in the run—up because they refused to play a qualifying game in Chile's National Stadium, Which not long before had been a concentration camp and the the 1974 world cup PRESIDENT NIXON was on the ropes, weak—kneed, buffeted ceaselessly by the Watergate scandal, while a spaceship was hurtling toward Jupiter. In Washington, an army lieutenant who had murdered a hundred civilians in Vietnam was found innocent: after all there weren’t more than a hundred, and I 7 they were civilians and, what’s more, they were Vietnamese. Site of executions by firing squad. So in that stadium the The novelists Miguel Angel Asturias and Far Lakgervist Chilean squad played the most pathetic match in the history : of soccer: they played against no one, scored several goals on lay dying, as did the painter David Alfaro Siqueiros. And L - 142 t the empty net, and were cheered by the crowd. During the Cl‘llYff World Cup, Chile didn’t win a single match. Surprise: the Dutch players brought their wives or girls THEY CALLED the Dutch team the “Clockwork Orange,” but friends with them to Germany and stayed with them there was nothing mechanical about this work of imagination that left everyone befuddled with its incessant changes. Like River’s “Machine,” another team libeled by its nickname, this throughout the tournament. It was the first time such a thing 1' had happened. Another surprise: the Dutch had wings on their feet and reached the final undefeated, with fourteen orange fire flitted back and forth, fanned by an all—knowing goals in their favor and only one against, which out of sheer bad luck had been scored by one of their own. The ’74« World is _ Cup revolved around the “Clockwork Orange,” the over- . breeze that sped it forward and pulled it back. Everyone attacked and everyone defended, deploying and retreating in a vertiginous fan. Faced with a team in which each one was all whelming creation of Cruyff, Neeskens, Rensenbrink, Krol eleven, the opposing players lost their step. and the other indefatigable Dutch players driven by coach Rinus Michels. ' At the beginning of the final match, Cruytf exchanged .A Brazilian reporter called it “organized disorganization.” Holland had music and the one who carried the melody, keeping so many simultaneous notes on pitch and in tune, was Johan Cruyff. Conducting the orchestra and playing his own instru— ment at the same time, Cruyfi' worked harder than anyone. colors with Beckenbauer. And then the third surprise occurred: “The Kaiser" and his team punctured the Dutch party balloon. Maier who blocked everything, Muller who This scrawny live—wire earned a spot on the Ajax roster when he was only a child: while his mother waited on tables at the club bar, he collected balls that went off the field, shined the players’ shoes and placed the flags in the corners. He did everything they asked of him and nothing they ordered him to do. He wanted to play and they wouldn’t let him because his body was too weak and his will too strong. When they finally gave him a chance, he took it and never let it go. Still a boy, he made his debut on the Dutch team, played stupendously, scored a goal and knocked out the referee with one punch. From that night on he kept up his reputation for being tempestuous, hardworking and talented, Over two decades scored everything, and Breitner who solved everything poured two buckets of cold water on the favorites, and against all odds the Germans won 951. The history of the ’54: Cup in Switzerland, when Germany beat the unbeatable Hungary, was repeated. Behind West Germany and Holland came Poland. In fourth place Brazil, who did not manage to be what they could have been. A Polish player, Lato, ended up as leading scorer with seven, followed by another Pole, Szarmach, and the Dutchman Neeskens with five apiece. he won twenty—two championships in Holland and Spain. He 143 1414 retired when he was thirty—seven after scoring his final goal, and the crowd carried him on its shoulders from the stadium to his house. THE COACH of club T SV in Munich told him: r‘You won’t go far in soccer. Better try something else.” Back then, Gerd Muller worked twelve hours a clay in a textile mill. Eleven years later, in 1974‘, this stumpy tub of a player was champion of the world. No one scored more goals than 5 he in the history of eitherthe German league or the national team. Nobody saw a wild wolf on the field. Disguised as an old woman, his fangs and claws hidden, he strolled along, making . a show of showering innocent passes and other works of i '2' charity. Meanwhile, he slipped unnoticed into the box. The - net was the bridal veil of an irresistible girl. In front of the open goal he licked his chops. And in one fell swoop he stood naked, then bit. “scrim w:J:JI-=‘..\::':‘F“.‘ "'2 1415 havelange IN 1974, after a long climb, Jean Marie Faustin de Godefroid Havelange reached the summit of FIFA. And he announced: “I have come to sell a product named soccer.” From that point on, Havelange has exercised absolute power over the world of soccer. With his body glued to the throne, he reigns in his palace in Zurich surrounded by a court of voracious technocrats. l-Ie governs more countries than the United Nations, travels more than the Pope, and has more medals than any war hero. Havelange was born in Brazil, where he is the owner of Cometa, the country’s largest transport company, and other businesses specializing in financial speculation, weapons sales and life insurance. But his opinions don’t seem very Brazilian. A journalist from The Times in London once asked him: “What do you like best about soccer? The glory? The beauty? The poetry? Winning?" And he answered: “The discipline.” This old—style monarch has transformed the geography of soccer and made it into one of the more splendid multina- tional businesses in the world. Under his rule, the number of Countries competing in world championships has doubled: there were sixteen in 1974:; there will be thirty—two in 1998. And from what we can decipher through the fog around his ' . balance sheets, the profits generated by these tournaments haVe multiplied so prodigiously that the Biblical miracle of bread and fish seems like ajoke in comparison. The new protagonists of world soccer, countries in Africa, 14-6 ii, the Middle East and Asia, offer Havelange a broad base of sup- ISL Marketing owns exclusive rights on stadium advertis~ port, but his power gains sustenance, above all, from his asso- .ihg, films and Videos, logos, banners and mascots for interna— ciation with several gigantic corporations, Coca—Cola and tional soccer competitions until the end of the century. This Adidas among them. It was Havelange who convinced Adidas ' business belongs to the inheritors of Adolph Dassler, founder to finance the candidacy of his friend Juan Antonio Samaranoh for the presidency of the International Olympic Committee in 1980. Samaranch, who during the Franco dictatorship had the of Adidas, brother and enemy of the founder of its competitor Puma. When Havelange and Samaranch offered a sales monopoly to the Dassler family, they were acting out of grati— good sense to wear a blue shirt and salute with his palm tude, a noble sentiment. Adidas, the largest sports—clothing extended, is now the other king of world sport. These two manufacturer in the world, had shown considerable generosity manage enormous sums of money. How much, no one knows. when It came to helping Havelange and bamaranch consohdate They are rather bashful about the subject. their personal power. In 1990, the Dasslers sold Adidas to French businessman Bernard Tapie, but held on to ISL, which the family still controls today in association with the Japanese advertising firm Dentsu. Control over world sport is no small potatoes. At the end - of 1994, speaking in New York to a businessmen’s group, -:- .: . Havelange confessed a few numbers, something he rarely the owners 0f the ii does: “I can confirm that soccer generates a total of$225 bil— ‘ lion world wide every year.” He boasted that such a fortune FIFA, which holds court in Zurich, the International Olympic "'— i Compared faVOTablY t0 the $136 billion in Sales that General Committee, which rules from Lausanne, and ISL Marketing, which runs things from Lucerne, manage the World Cup and the Olympics. All three of these powerful organizations main— tain their head offices in Switzerland, a country famous for William Tell’s marksmanship, precision watches and reli— gious devotion to bank secrecy. Coincidentally, all three pro— fess an extraordinary degree of modesty when it comes to the Motors, the world’s largest multinational corporation, recorded in 1993. In the same speech, Havelange warned: “Soccer is a com— mercial product that must be sold as wisely as possible.” And pay a lot of attention to the packaging.” The sale of television rights is the most productive vein money which passes through their hands, and that which in in the fantastically rich mine of international competitions, their hands remains, and FIFA and the International Olympic Committee enjoy 147 he cited the first law of wisdom in today’ 5 world: "You have to ‘ 148 'f? 1419 the lion’s share of the proceeds. That money has multiplied Sochaux’s sponsor, Peugeot, also owns the club stadium Philips owns the Dutch club PSV in Eindhoven. Bayer is the name of the two German first division clubs the company finances: Bayer Leverkusen and Bayer Uerdingen. The inven— spectacularly since television began to broadcast world championships live around the world. The 1993 Barcelona Olympics earned six—hundred—and—thirty times as much from television as the Rome Olympics in 1960, when the broadcast tor and owner ofAnstrad computers is also the proprietor of the British club Tottenham Hotspur, whose shares are traded on the stock exchange; Blackburn Rovers belongs to the Walker Group. In Japan, where professional soccer is still young, the largest companies have set up their own teams and hired for— eign stars, making the safe bet that soccer is a universal lan— guage for advertising their businesses the world over. Furukawa electric company started the club Jef United Ichihara and hired German superstar Pierre Littbarski and the Czechs Frantisek and Pavel. Toyota set up club Grampus, who sign ed on English striker Gary Lineker. The veteran but even-brilliant Zico played for Kashima, which belongs to the Sumitomo industrial-financial conglomerate. Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Panasonic and Japan Airlines also have soccer teams. did not reach beyond the national market. When it comes to deciding which companies will be the advertisers for each competition, Havelange, Samaranch and the Dassler family never quarrel. The machine that turns all passion into money can’t afford the luxury of promoting the most healthy or useful products for active sports fans. They simply place themselves at the service of the highest bidder, and they only want to know if Mastercard will pay more than Visa, and if Fujifilm will put more money on the table than Kodak. Coca—Cola, that nutritious elixir no athlete’s body can rustgwmtgdanksmflfimvfiafinrecessed? “ ' A -= ¢- #- do without, always heads the list. Its wealth of virtues place it beyond question. With findde—sz'écle soccer so wrapped up in marketing and sponsors, it's no surprise that some of Europe’s biggest clubs mm); Mann-Mealsmth are actually companies that belong to other companies. “1 5.2a. Juventus from Turin, just like Fiat, is part of the Agnelli These teams can lose money, but that doesn,t matter as long as they project a good image for the corporate propri— etors. That’s why their ownership is no secret: soccer helps advertise the companies and in all the world there is no greater public—relations tool. When Silvio Berlusconi bought . Milan, which was in bankruptcy, he launched the new chapter In its life with all the choreography of a major advertising Campaign. That afternoon in 1987, Milan’s eleven players descended slowly from a helicopter hovering above the center Group. Milan belongs to the constellation of three hundred . gummy “ml-H companies of the Berlusconi Group. Parma belongs to Parmalat. Sampdoria, to the oil conglomerate Mantovani. Fiorentina, to the movie production company Cecchi Gori. Olympique of Marseilles moved to the forefront of European soccer when it became one of Bernard Tapie’s companies, until a bribery scandal ruined his successful career. Paris Saint—Germain belongs to the television firm Canal Plus. .1. 150 ‘1 7? 151 of the field, while loudspeakers blared Wagner’s "Walkyrief‘ Bernard Tapie, another specialist in his own protagonism, liked to celebrate Olympique’s victories with huge parties, The owner and builder of the ephemeral edifice, Jesus Gil y G11, went to jail. He spent two years and three months behind bars—two weeks for each death—until he was par- domed by Generalissimo Franco. As soon as he set foot out of prison, Jesus was back to serve the progress of the fatherland once again in the construction industry. glowing with fireworks and laser beams, where top rock groups performed. Soccer, the fountain of so much passion, also generates fame and power. The teams that enjoy some autonomy because they don’t depend directly on other companies are Some time later, this businessman became the owner of a soccer team, Atlético of Madrid. Thanks to soccer, which often run by shady businessmen or second—rate pollt1c1ans turned him into a popular television personality, Jesus was who use the game as a prestigious platform to catapult them— able to launch a political career. In 1991 he was elected mayor selves into the public eye. There are also rare cases where of Marbella, winning more votes than anyone else in the just the opposite is true: men who put their well—earned fame country. During his election campaign he promised to clear thieves, drunks and drug addicts off the streets of this tourist spot reserved for the amusement of Arab sheiks and foreign gangsters specializing in gun—running and drug trafficking. Atlético of Madrid remains the base of his power and prestige, even though the team frequently loses. Coaches don’t last more than a few weeks. Jesus Gil y Gil seeks advice at the service of soccer, like the English singer Elton John, who bought Watford, the team he loved, or the movie director Francisco Lombardi, who runs Peru’s Sporting Cristal. from his horse Imperioso, a snow—white and very sentimental stallion. “Imperioso, we lost.” “I know, Gil.” r“Whose fault is it?” "I don’t know, Gil.” “Yes you do, Imperioso. It’s the coach’s fault.” “So, fire him.” jesus IN THE MIDDLE of 1969, a large hall for weddings, baptisms and conventions opened in Spain’s Guadarrama mountains. While the grand opening banquet was in full swing, the floor collapsed, the roof fell in and the guests were buried in rubble. Fifty—two people died. The hall had been built with public funds, but without permits, licenses or an architect in charge. 152 the 1978 world cup 1N GERMANY, the popular Volkswagen Beetle was dying; in England, the first test tube baby was being born; in Italy, abortion was being made legal. The first victims of AIDS, a disease not yet called that, were succumbing. The Red Brigades were killing Aldo Moro; the United States was promising to give Panama back the canal it stole at the be gin- ning of the century. Well—informed sources in Miami announced the imminent fall of Fidel Castro, it was only a matter of hours. In Nicaragua the Somoza dynasty was tee— tering, in Iran the Shah’s dynasty was teetering, the Guatemalan military were machine—gunning a crowd of peas— ants in the town of Panzés. Domitila Barrios and four other women from tin—mining communities were launching a hunger strike against Bolivia’s military dictatorship, and soon all Bolivia was on a hunger strike: the dictatorship was falling. The Argentine military dictatorship, in contrast, remained in good health, and to prove it played host to the eleventh World Cup. Ten European countries, four from the Americas, plus Iran and Tunisia, took part. The Pope sent his blessings from Rome. To the strains of a military march, General Videla pinned a medal on Havelange during the opening ceremonies in Buenos Aires’s Monumental Stadium. A few steps away, Argentina’s Auschwitz, the torture and extermination camp at the Navy School of Mechanics, was operating at full speed. A few miles beyond that, prisoners were being thrown alive from airplanes into the sea. “At last the world can see the true face ofArgentina,” crowed the president of FIFA to the TV cameras. Special guest Henry Kissinger predicted: “This country has a great future in all ways.” And the captain of the German team, Berti Vogts, who made the first kick—off, declared a few days later: "Argentina is a country where order reigns. I haven’t seen any political prisoners.” The home team won a few games, but lost to Italy and drew with Brazil. To reach the final against Holland, they had to drown Peru in a flood of goals. Argentina got more than they needed, but the massacre, 6-0, sowed doubt among skeptical fans and magnanimous ones, too. The Peruvians Were stoned on their return to Lima. The final between Argentina and Holland was decided in extra time. The Argentines won 3—1 and in a way their victo— ry came thanks to the patriotism of the post that saved the Argentine net in the last minute of regular play. That post, which stopped a resounding blast by Rensenbrink, was never given military honors only because of the nature of human ingratitude. In any case, more important than the post, as it turned out, were the goals of Mario Kempes, an unstoppable colt who liked to gallop over the grass covered with a snowu fall of confetti, his hair flying in the wind. When they handed out the trophies, the Dutch players refused to salute the leaders of the Argentine dictatorship. Third place went to Brazil, fourth to Italy. Kempes was voted best player in the Cup and was also the leading scorer with six goals. Behind him came the Peruvian Cubillas and Rensenbrink of Holland with five apiece. 153 154 just to be sure. “The final solution," as they called it, mur— I55 happiness "What is True for Products, is Also True for Countries.” Admiral Carlos Alberto Lacoste, the strongman of the World Cup, explained in an interview: "If I go to Europe or to the United States, what will impress me most? Large buildings, ’ FIVE THOUSAND journalists from all over the world, a sumptu— ous media center, impeccable stadiums, new airports: a model of efficiency. Veteran German reporters confessed that the ’78 World Cup reminded them of the ’36 Olympics in Berlin for which Hitler had pulled out all the stops. The cost was a state secret. Many millions of dollars big airports, terrific cars, fancy candies . . . ’ The Admiral, an illusionist skilled at making dollars evaporate and sudden fortunes appear, took the reins of the World Cup after the previous officer in charge was mysteri— were spent and lost#how many, it was never known so ousl assassinated. Lacoste mana ed immense sums of g that the smiles 0f a happy COUHU‘Y under military tutelage money without any oversight and it seems, because he wasn’t would be broadcast to the four corners of the earth. paying close attention, he ended up keeping some of the change. Even the dictatorship’s Treasury Secretary, Juan Alemann, took note of the squandering of public funds and asked a few inconvenient questions. The Admiral had the habit of warning: “Later on, don’t complain if somebody plants a bomb . . . ” Meanwhile, the top brass who organized the World Cup car— ried on with their plan of extermination, for reasons ofwar or dered thousands of Argentinians without leaving a trace—"H how many, it was never known: anyone who tried to find out was swallowed up by the earth. Curiosity was, like dissent, A bomb did explode in Alemann's house at the very moment when Argentinians were celebrating their fourth goal against Peru. like any question, absolute proof of subversion. The presi— dent of the Argentine Rural Society, Celedonio Pereda, declared that thanks to soccer, "There will be no more of the urban the Cup was over, out of gratitude for his hard defamation that certain well—known Argentinians haVe work, Admiral Lacoste was named vice—president of FIFA. spread through the Western media with the profits from their robberies and kidnappings.” You couldn’t even criticize the players, not even the coach. The Argentine team stum— bled a few times in the championship, but local commentators were obliged to do nothing but applaud. To make over its international image, the dictatorship paid an American public relations firm half—a—million dollars. The report from the experts at Burson—Masteller was titled: ...
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This note was uploaded on 05/25/2011 for the course HIST 303 taught by Professor Salesa during the Fall '10 term at University of Michigan.

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19. Galeano Soccer Extracts 3 - 128 A goal by rooha ET was...

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