Diversity of the Beautiful Game: Rio to Merseyside

Blog by: Sayak

Ronaldinho and Steven Gerrard: Different styles of  greatness

Ronaldinho and Steven Gerrard: Different styles of greatness

The greatest and the biggest game on the planet is getting colossal every minute. Increased participation, increased media coverage and out-of-job bloggers like us add up to the grandiose of football.

The history of the beautiful game dates back  2500 years in China where they called it Cuju.

There are many reasons behind football espousing the world’s imagination, but they are different in different provinces. So, let us look into the reasons, beyond football, which defines the style they inculcate.

In layman’s term, we will look into why Ronaldinho will do so many hallucinogenic skills on the pitch whereas Zinedine Zidane, whom I personally consider the greatest footballer of my time, won’t .

The previous statement must have made you curious about my age, trust me, I’m young enough to be a million dollar investment for Sheikh Mansour from Etihad stadium, Only if my skills, Ahhh!.

It is of highest curiosity to me about why do the Latin Americans have a better skill set than the Europeans, in terms of football. A very interesting observation is that even the Latin speaking Europeans i.e. the Spanish and the Portuguese have better dribbling skills than the Deutsch, the Oranges, the Azzurri’s and of course, the stratosphere touching passers from the land of the Queen.

The most obvious reasoning behind it is how the kids have grown up idolising their heroes and how they have been trained. But we will take a different approach to see why Neymar will do 17 step-overs to dribble one defender and Khedira will give air-borne balls to a teammate, standing right next to him. The analogies may seem a little dragged but that is the whole purpose of part of speech.

Let’s consider that you are lucky enough to visit Brazil. Let us move ahead to the point where your flight lands at Galeão International Airport, Rio de Janeiro. You clear your immigration, speak some funny words in Portuguese and then you take a cab to your hotel somewhere near Vargas.

To look for the answer to why football is so skillful in those parts, you will have to look beyond the Rio carnivals and wander into the small streets of Santa Maria among others. That is where you will get the answer to Kaka’s relentless 360° and not Micheal Essien’s.

Take a walk inside the Favela (the slums of Rio) and you will see thin road with doors of the adjacent houses opening right on the street. There will be cars parked outside taking half the space. But mostly you won’t observe all this because all you will see are kids as big as Giovinco barefoot toiling around with a ball, half torn and half gone. The economic disparity in developing countries run parallel to their population, so, you may even end up looking at 13-a-side match on a street as long as Peter Crouch.

The kids not only grow up dribbling the ball past their opposition team, they dribble past the cars, the cycles and the cattle as well. Frankly, they have no other option.

Iniesta and Schweinsteiger: Different countries, different styles

Iniesta and Schweinsteiger: Different countries, different styles

Now, I want your equally crazy friend to go to the streets of England. I’m guessing you have some high-end smart phone and a good 3G connection. If you don’t have a 3G connection throw the phone, you don’t know how to use it. Your phone is more like Torres, a striker who doesn’t know how to score goals.

Now, ask him to Skype you and then look at the streets of England. Yes, they are empty. The kids are at the nearby lush green football complex of the width and breadth enough to shoot as far and wide as they want to. When I look back at the days in Brazil, I never spent, I realize how beautiful it would have been to stand alongside the future generation of footballers who epitomize flair.

The culture of Brazil has more to do with their style of play than their coaches. They are a free flowing society. They enjoy the diversity around them, in the form of plants and animals along with personalities. They try to imbibe the same versatility and disparate in their art form, which is football.

On the other hand, most of the footballing super powers of Europe have striking manufacturing units and industrial areas. So what they grow up watching is a monotonous set of acts driving their daily life. They have an artless yet competent form of doing things. They are like machines but nonetheless successful.

When we look into the language the footballing nations speak and compare their footballing styles, we can find glaring similarities. If you have heard the Germans speak, you will know the roughness and the characteristic bold features of their language. Now, compare the same with Bastian Schweinsteiger’s playing style; he is strong, bold and sometimes rough.

Take Spanish as a language, it has a rhythm to it. If we compare this to Andres Inesta, oh! So similar.

The economy of Brazil is developing and so is their playing style and the kids are observing and learning other styles of football from a very young age. They do not have to play with torn shoes and balls anymore. All this have led to a more monotonous style of Latin American footballer, if you don’t agree with me look at Lucas Leiva and Coloccini.

The world has become smaller. You’re just one click away from knowing football history and driving its future to a whole new direction.

However, there is so much more to football than La Masia and dribbling. Football defines a culture, it brings them closer and it takes them apart. And that’s why a Gareth Bale will never be a Cristiano Ronaldo and a Lionel Messi will never be similar to a Steven Gerrard.


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