Diego Maradona, One of the Most Conservative Men At The World Cup

June 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Diego Maradona, contrary to popular opinion, is a deeply conservative man. Most people confuse his profanity and bizarre behavior and threats (all which are Hashiell Dammit-approved and encouraged) with his attitude towards the game of soccer. So while the man is possibly deranged about life, he is decidedly old-world about how he wants his team to play: defenders defend, attacker attack, and ne’er the twain shall meet.

As Zonal Marking put it:

Firstly, this is as ‘flat’ a flat back four as you will ever find in any top-class side in the world. Maradona has repeatedly insisted that he wants his defenders to purely defend, and despite us being at a stage in football where rampaging full-backs are all the rage and are arguably the most important players in the team, Maradona does not want his to attack. “Why do they need to cross the halfway line?”, he recently asked. “That’s what my wingers are for.”

So, clearly, Diego is not a big subscriber to the hybrid players school or the total football school. It’s anyone’s guess what he’s thinking, but my best is that he is spending more time worried about a cohesive defensive midfield because he has such faith in the di Maria-Higuain-and, most importantly, Messi, contingent to get the goals. And this makes sense. The entire arc of Diego’s behavior as a coach can be explained by identifying his near-fanatical desire to recreate the 1986 Argentine campaign.

So now that he’s got the new, erm, him, he wants to add around that piece, and to do so in a standard know-your-role way. I’ll be surprised if Mascherano ever gets beyond 10 yards into the opposing side’s half. You probably won’t find a coach in this World Cup more in agreement with Broncos coach Josh “do your job and quit making shit up” McDaniels than Maradona.

(As a brief aside, yet again we are seeing yet another Latin American team that is focusing on bolstering defense. So while Spain, England, the Netherlands, Portugal, and several other Euro teams are banking on their midfields and offenses and an open and liberal philosophy, on the other side there’s Dunga’s conservative Brazil side, Paraguay’s crazy-awesome defense, Chile with a superb defensive midfield, and now Maradona’s old-gritty-philosophy. There’ll be some interesting clashes in the coming weeks, to say the least. Put it this way: I bet that we see a lotta games eerily similar to Inter-Barca from a few weeks back.)

So rather than viewing Diego as the glue-sniffing bon vivant that has no responsibilities or cares kind of crazy, I suggest to you that he’s much more akin to senile boozy retired admiral that sees Japs in every rowboat kind of crazy.


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