dijous, 23 d’abril de 2009
Futbol es Futbol (del Guardian)
Critics hail 'a team called miracle' as Real evoke memories of 2007
Somehow Real Madrid's title hopes remain alive after two late goals brought them victory over Getafe
Real Madrid's Klaas Jan Huntelaar, left, and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, right, celebrate Gonzalo Higuaín's dramatic winner. Photograph: Paul White/AP
Right, sunshine, let's get this straight. You say your name is Francisco Javier Casquero Paredes. Date of birth: 11 March 1976. You're from Talavera de la Reina, Toledo province. Your DNI number is: X3460761L. You're a professional footballer and you play for Getafe in the Spanish First Division, but maybe not for much longer. You're one of the more intelligent men in the game. At 10.45pm on Tuesday, 22 April, 2009, you were standing by the penalty spot at the north end of the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid, and you say you've got 78,000 witnesses who saw everything. Oh, and a football manager who, somehow, didn't.
You say you even have written statements verifying your story. El País calls it "delirious, absurd and nonsensical" but true. AS calls it "impossible", claiming that "no one knows how it happened" but it did. And Marca calls it an "apotheosis".
It is week 32 of La Liga, a match between Getafe and the league champions Real Madrid. You've just run into the Madrid penalty area, been pushed over by a Mr Képer Laveran Lima Ferreira, aka Pepe. While you're on the floor, he kicks you, stamps on you and punches your friend, Juan Ángel Albín Leites, in the face. He gets sent from the field by the referee, Mr Delgado Ferreiro, and wrestled from it by Iker Casillas. As he departs, he tells the fourth official: "You're all sons of bitches." His boss says he didn't mean to kick you; he meant to "kick the air". But he later sings like a canary. He makes a tearful confession and begs forgiveness. Your boss wants him banned for 10 games.
The referee gives you a penalty. Mr Estéban Granero Molina, aka The Pirate, says he'll take it but you grab the ball. Your team has missed 50% of their penalties already and Mr Granero is one of three guilty men, along with Mr Albín and a Mr Roberto Soldado Rillo. You also suspect that there might be some previous between The Pirate, Soldado and Real Madrid; given the chances Mr Soldado has wasted, you suspect he might even be a double agent. On top of that, the last time Albín missed one, at the Vicente Calderón stadium, Paseo de los Melancólicos, Madrid, you ranted about seriousness. You would take them. No more wasted opportunities.
You distinctly remember looking at the scoreboard and seeing 88 minutes and 2-2. You say you remember thinking this was the perfect moment.
Your team have been 1-0 and 2-1 up and should already have put the game out of sight. Mr Soldado scored the first. Some hideous defending on a basic long punt in first-half stoppage time gifted a Mr Gonzalo Higuaín the equaliser after 45 minutes in which even AS says Madrid have been "pathetic". The fans have been whistling since the 20th minute. Arjen Robben has come on as a sub and gone off again injured. Fernando Gago is playing at centre-back, Marcelo Veira da Silva Junior is playing in central midfield and Royston Drenthe is playing. Raúl's not. Although he is on the pitch. Albín and Soldado missed absolute sitters but Albín made it 2-1 after 84 minutes with a wonderful goal. There were just six minutes left. You thought it was all over. And so did everyone else.
But, you say, it wasn't. Madrid got a free-kick – you're not sure what for – and your team-mates built a wall that leaves such an obvious passage through to goal it might as well be lit up with neon arrows and signs saying "Cooee, over here!" You still don't expect Guti to crash such a brilliant shot through the gap, though. Luckily, the penalty gives you the perfect chance to make up for it.
It's important. Very important. Your really need to win to preserve Getafe's proud record of never having been relegated, a record they share with just three other clubs: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao. Score and Getafe climb to 12th, one victory from safety. Lose and you will be just two places and four points from the relegation zone, with the guarantee of that gap being cut by at least one point within 48 hours. You can hit a ball like Hotshot Hamish, racking up your very own collection of Johnny Metgod belters. And I can check YouTube if I want.
This time it really is game over. There's no time left. You're going to rip the net out. You're going to rescue your team. You're going to defeat Madrid for the first time in 17 matches. You're going to make it 2-3. A famous victory for Getafe. You're going to hand the league title to Barcelona: they're going to be six points clear with a game in hand and six weeks remaining. But you don't. You have no excuse, no alibi, no reason. You just don't. You don't know what came over you. Instead of tearing the net out, you run up and dink the ball straight into the arms of Casillas. It is so slow, so pathetic, so utterly ridiculous, that he has time to go one way, reach the floor, get back up and catch it. While having a nice cup of tea. You start to cry. Instead of Madrid being dead and buried your penalty has, you say, become a bugle call for them.
You launch another attack trying desperately to salvage the win you have just thrown away. You have a corner. Your goalkeeper goes up. Marcelo sticks his tongue out at Daniel Alberto "Cata" Díaz. All that's missing is the thumb on the nose and a na-na-na-na-na. There is a fight. You remember your team trying to attack some more. But yet again you fail to finish the move – even booting it into the crowd, by now baying for blood, would be better but everyone seems to have lost their heads – and Madrid break. You remember seeing Higuaín batter a shot, the net bulge, the place explode. Madrid's players pile in. Pepe runs back on the pitch. It is 3-2. To Madrid.
You remember it was the 93rd minute. You feel sick. The referee blows his whistle. You collapse to your knees. Another fight breaks out. Everyone piles in. Marcelo looks at Cata Díaz and grabs his crotch (his own crotch, not Cata Díaz's). A steward – whose job is to prevent crowd trouble and keep people safe – starts performing a string of up yours gestures to Getafe's fans, bewildered and angry barely metres from him. He then starts doing going down gestures.
Everyone else is chanting about being champions. Madrid are just three points behind Barcelona, who face a tough task against Sevilla tonight. You say Madrid really might win the league from a seemingly impossible position. And if I don't believe you, I should look back at the records. It's happened before, in 2007. Somehow, God knows how, Madrid could actually take the title. Again. If you don't believe me, ask AS, you say. They say Madrid are "a team called miracle"; Tomás Roncero is gushing about "what goolies they have". You swear it's true.
Yeah, right. A likely tale. I wasn't born yesterday, sonny. And it's no use turning on the waterworks, either. Ain't no one stupid enough to believe that. And as for those statements, do you really think Marca and AS are going to hold up in court? Christ, this is almost as preposterous as that 18 seconds nonsense you pedalled last time. Go on, get out of here and stop wasting our time. There's no way anyone could be that dumb. That lucky. That brilliant. Or that mental. And there's no way that Real Madrid can win the league.