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 Calcio Debate: Is Baggio Right - Has Skill Disappeared From

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ahmad193
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PostSubject: Calcio Debate: Is Baggio Right - Has Skill Disappeared From   Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:16 am

Italy legend Roberto Baggio launched a scathing attack against the
modern game at the weekend, saying that all the skill was being
replaced by pace and power. Carlo Garganese asks if the former European
and World Footballer of the Year is right…



What has happened to the beautiful game? There used to be a
time when the first thing a footballer was judged by was his technical ability.

After this, the order of importance would be tactical,
mental, and then finally physical qualities. This was the process that was used in most European countries, although not in all. England
has always been an exception, something I can vouch for personally as I was released by Luton Town (who had then just been relegated from the top-flight) as a skillful teenager because I was told I was “too small, short, and weak”.

Ever since this time I have always held the view that, not only the English youth system, but English football as a whole, has totally neglected skill and natural talent, in favour of pace, power, strength and other physical attributes. Indeed this helps explain why the country has always been
so dreadfully poor on a technical level.

While England has always placed physical attributes as the primary consideration when judging a player, other European countries, such as Spain and Italy, have traditionally favored the aforementioned technical aspect.

Sadly, the way the game is evolving, it seems that there is an inevitable process in place whereby the blood-and-thunder English way is
becoming the norm throughout Europe.

“It is all much faster and more difficult now," blasted Baggio.

"In the 1990s it was more than the 80s, now even more than the
90s. It is the evolution of the sport and we have to follow it.
However, one cannot criticize a player for trying a backheel during a game. Are we crazy?”

People that play today are - in most cases- athletes first, and
footballers second. The desire to become quicker, fitter and stronger is
destroying the game. All the skill, as Baggio says, is disappearing.

The classic ‘number 10’, the shirt and the position that every footballer growing up used to desire, is virtually extinct. The Italian national team exemplifies this perfectly. Over the years they have produced numerous world-class number 10s, the likes of Gianni Rivera, Sandro Mazzola,
Baggio, and most recently Francesco Totti. At this summer’s European
Championships, Coach Roberto Donadoni is set to employ a 4-3-3 formation,
meaning that Italy will be playing with no creative support striker.

You look at the major teams around Europe, and many seem to favour a big, strong, man-mountain of a target man. Arsenal have Emmanuel Adebayor, Chelsea have Didier Drogba, Inter field Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and I predict that within five years it will be rare to see a top club or country with a striker who is below six foot.

Height is becoming important. A team with short players is liable to concede goals off set-pieces and crosses – thus once again the lumbering giant is preferred to the shorter, skilful player. Take the Chelsea or Inter Milan teams who are absolutely full to the rafters with 6 foot-plus
machines.

Today, squads are also considered to be fragile unless they have two defensive midfielders in the middle-of-the-park. To be a good centre
midfielder is to be able to run, run and run some more. A player like Momo
Sissoko, wouldn’t have even made it into the semi-professional league in Italy a few decades ago, yet today he is being tipped by some to become one of the best midfield men in the whole of Serie A.

In modern football you can have the flair and natural talent
of Diego Maradona, but if you have no pace, nobody wants to know you. Take Juan Roman Riquelme for example. If he was around in the 1980s, he would have had every top team in Italy and Spain queuing up to build their team around him. Riquelme is a genius, he sees passes that athletes like Sissoko would take 30 years to spot, yet he is unwanted because he is considered too slow for the modern game.

Former Spain and Barcelona star Josep Guardiola was a fantastic holding playmaker, but he had the pace of a snail. The player’s career can be split into two parts. During the first half, when football was still pure, he was simply world class and one of the best midfielders in the world. However towards the end of the 1990s, there was a sudden decline in his performances (injuries also played a part). The game had simply become too fast and physical for him, something he admitted himself, and Barcelona
eventually let him go in 2001 at the age of just 30.

Of course there are always phenomenon’s who disprove this theory, but these are becoming rarer all the time. The best example of course
is Zinedine Zidane, an old-school player like Riquelme, with very little pace
or physical quality, yet who was far and away the best player of his
generation, and was still sensational at the 2006 World Cup at the age of 34. The fact that Zidane excelled in such an era proves what a legend among legends he is. Andrea Pirlo is another exception, but even he has found himself in situations where he has been physically bullied, such as against Arsenal in the Champions League recently.


Baggio believes that the only place in the world where football is still football is South America, a continent where players are footballers first, and athletes second.

“In South America more than Europe they are much closer to the authentic spirit of football,” said the 1994 World Cup star. “This is why I adore Leo Messi.”

Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry are two excellent examples of the modern day player. Both, when in form, are world class performers, but ask yourself how good they would be if you remove the pace and physical features from their games. Some would also place Kaka in this category.

Wayne Rooney, over the weekend, compared Manchester United to the old Brazil due to the way the teams play. The difference is that the great Brazil
teams have played with irresistible skill, technique and panache, while
The Red Devils' game is at a high intensity, quickly zipping the ball
about, and counter-attacking at a lightning pace.

Ronaldo and Henry would not have been world-class in the slower, and more technical/tactical oriented 1980s. On the same token you could probably find numerous players from that generation who wouldn’t have coped
today – Brazilian legend Socrates is perhaps one.

The question is though – who would you consider more of a
real footballer – Socrates or Henry?

Call me old-school, but I am sure that most football purists
will agree that football was much better when it was slower and less athletic.

What are your views on this topic? Is Roberto Baggio right -
has skill disappeared from modern football? What examples, like Riquelme, can you find of brilliant players who are being forced out
because of their physical deficiencies? Was football better when it was slower?

Goal.com wants to know what YOU think…


Carlo Garganese

http://www.goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=641500

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ahmad193
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PostSubject: Re: Calcio Debate: Is Baggio Right - Has Skill Disappeared From   Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:23 am

speed is an integral part of the game... always has been... but it wasnt exploited as much in the "old days" as it has been in recent years.

you can have speed and still be shit (eg martins)

speed alone doesnt make for a good player.. you need both speed and skills
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PostSubject: Re: Calcio Debate: Is Baggio Right - Has Skill Disappeared From   Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:25 pm

In all team sports, with the advent of scientific training (and in some cases steroids), athleticism has taken more and more importance, oftentimes at the expense of pure skill. The pure joy of seeing guys like Socrates and others was amplified by the fact that the guys facing them were simply not good enough to stop them; today, less skilled players compensate with being in better shape, which allows them to cover and counter more skilled players (more advanced tactics play a role here too)

Game's faster now cause players in general are in better shape and can actually run longer.
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