Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
Wednesday night was business as usual for the Albiceleste against Paraguay.
Another game, another defeat, another woeful performance, another team celebrating qualifying for the World Cup at their expense, and another endless list of unfathomable decisions made by the coach.
From FFT.com's World Cup News section, September 10: Maradona defiant after Paraguay defeat
Although Conmebol qualifying is tight – with two rounds left, Argentina are one of five teams within three points of each other squabbling for one automatic place – it's looking like the play-offs for Diego Maradona’s team.
There's a chance it may not be Maradona’s team for much longer, but that particular subject can keep for the time being.
For now the knives are out for what promises to be a fairly bloody post mortem after the 90 minutes of hell in Asunción.
Yet while everyone moans that Leo Messi isn't the player he is with Barcelona, that Maradona was always a disaster waiting to happen, that a team like Argentina can’t possibly be in this situation, there are two words that add yet more light on the reason that Argentina are where they are.
Argentina’s must-win World Cup qualifier in Paraguay was a full 48 seconds old when the ‘defender’ bundled over the man he was ‘marking’.
The following 89 minutes and 12 seconds would prove to contain the full repertoire of Heinze’s game.
We were delighted with the full display, which includes over-hit crosses, hospital passes to team-mates, clearances straight to the opposition, and an assortment of fouling techniques that range from the not-so-subtle push in the back to the knee-high studs-up lunge.
All that was missing was blaming a team-mate for conceding a goal (he covered that base at the weekend) or the bulging-vein eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with the match referee for daring to give a decision against him.
It's not news that Gabriel Heinze is not a technically gifted player.
The coach Jorge Griffa is widely regarded as something of a legend in Argentina, taking the credit for bringing through players such as Jorge Valdano, Roberto Sensini, Gabriel Batistuta, Nicolas Burdisso and Carlos Tevez amongst others.
He is, however, also the man to blame for discovering Gabriel Heinze.
On the eve of his professional debut, Heinze got a call from Griffa: "Congratulations, but remember one thing. You can’t play football. Keep it simple."
On paper, Heinze kept things simple enough to rack up a decent CV - over 50 caps for his country, once voted Manchester United’s fans’ player of the season, Premier League winner’s medal, la Liga winner with Real Madrid…
And if Heinze himself is anyone to go by, he is still worth big bucks.
When Real Madrid told Heinze to pack his bags over the summer, a move to Marseille was put on hold as he wanted €4.5 million a year [that's roughly £75,000 a week - mildly astonished Ed.].
Perhaps Jorge Griffa had a word in his ear, and he lowered his demands.
Heinze now struggles to make ends meet with the €1 million a year he makes in France, but he can find comfort in still counting as a favourite with the national team.
Ever since Marcelo Bielsa first called up the ‘Gringo’ in 2003, Heinze has always been in the Argentina set-up.
And while Diego Maradona kept repeating that his team is "Mascherano plus 10," Olé picked up the coach earlier in the week on this point, declaring that the team is, in fact, "Heinze plus 10."
After the defeat to Brazil at the weekend, Heinze seemed to be let off by the sports daily.
"It’s not your fault that we don’t have other left-backs and you have to play there," wrote the paper.
"Its not your fault that Dunga marked Zanetti, knowing you’d waste the ball if you went forward," it added.
"It’s not your fault they blocked you and made you lose your man in the first goal."
Clearly, Olé were in a forgiving mood.
"It is your fault, though, for blaming a team mate on the pitch."
After the first goal, Heinze had screamed at debutant Seba Dominguez, when replays suggested it was in fact the Argentina vice-captain who should have been there.
"It is not your fault that you just watched as Luis Fabiano scored the third."
And then came the final thrust of the dagger... "Heinze is a symptom of not being as good as we think we are."
Olé may well be on to something there.
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Anyone who's watched Real Madrid over the last 2 years will know Heinze's game. He’s a total liability at the back, fouling, giving away penalties, and generally being a complete nutter.
Plus he’s useless going forward.
I'm completely out of the loop with Argentina's domestic game, but WHY is Maradona playing Veron & Gago and not Cambiasso and Riquelme?!
you only have to watch Heinze in the two legs against Liverpool last year, to know that he is now a liability.
Griffa's call explains absolutely everything Heinze has done at Real Madrid in the last couple of years (I can't speak for his whole career, since I'm not that familiar with it). It's a mystery how he's still playing international football.
Cambiasso injured. Riquelme wont play for Argentina under Maradona - big fall out there.
Heinze aint the best thought he done well last night won everything in the air, i dont believe there is anyone fit and playing who is better.
Midfield is awful! Mascherano did nothing, why is he captain? Gago for all his effort produced nothing and poor Messi again failed to have an influence on the game.
Ole are on to something the team isnt good enough, a proper manager would help though...
This the biggest piece of bullshit I have ever read! I am a huge fan of Gabriel Heinze and I watch his every game for club and country, I have done for the past three years. I am not going to ignorantly insist he is the best defender in the world, I'm being realistic here. But this highly over-exagerrated and biased piece of over-dramatized rubbish is a disgrace to journalism with it's inaccuracy.
Gabriel Heinze is the epitome of everything an Argentine footballer is and everything the rest of the national team should try more to be. He is called 'error prone' because he doesn't back out of challenges and fights for every ball while putting himself in high risk of injury, and personally, I would rather have a player that would make a few mistakes while at least TRYING, than having a player than shies away and doesn't even bother. And for some rather pathetic reason, these mistakes are always used as a unfair view of Heinze's game as a whole, when actually the man makes far more vital and well-timed tackles and blocks than the silly, petty little errors that journalists always feel the need to rave about.
Not only can Heinze actually play, despite what a load of money-grabbing reporters who barely actually watch the games seem to think, but despite who wears the armband, Gabriel Heinze is the Argentina national team captain at heart. If you would actually bother to LOOK when the team comes out after half-time, it is Heinze who is giving the damn team talk and I wouldn't be half surprised if he was doing the same in the dressing room, too. At the end of the 6-1 defeat to Bolivia, Heinze was the only player actually still trying by the end of the match and then he went out of his way to try and re-encourage his team-mates, talking to them and attempting to lift their spirits while actual-captain Mascherano sulked. And the one game Heinze was actually made captain, the commentators said (rather accurately) that Argentina looked much more organised that night. Yes, they lost, but if you watched the match you would see that the first goal was a wonder-goal, one of those things that you can't do anything about, no matter how well you are playing, and the other only happened after Heinze was subbed, the commentators pointing out: "the back line has really lost it's shape since Heinze went off."
But despite your horribly inaccurate views of Heinze's game, the thing here that I really found disgraceful was your view of Heinze's attitude and personality. I don't know who you've been watching, but the character put across here is some money-grabbing, big headed imbercile who thinks he's the greatest thing to walk this planet. Everything written here is the complete opposite of what Gabriel Heinze is. Heinze, who on several occasions when asked an opinion of himself, has personally said that he does not like to talk about his traits because he doesn't think he's very good in comparison to other players. The man who said: "I don't want to be remembered as a footballer, I want to be remembered as a good person". I hope for his sake that he never comes across this horrid disgrace of an article because he's too kind and genuine a person to deserve to be so insulted.
So, in summary, your article is a piece of poorly written, inaccurate and rather pathetic, trash and maybe you should actually learn who the hell Gabriel Heinze is before you start making up a load of complete bull-sh*t about a player who is more passionate, more talented, and more determined than most and a true unrecognised leader that holds the team together. His national team-mates adore him and I think they know a hell of a lot more than you, because you clearly know f*** all about a subject you've considered it your unintelligent business to comment on.
Joel..... I am truly shocked that you have written this and put your name to it! Maybe you remember me?
Gaby has been and still is an enormous inspiration to Rebecca. She is now at Birmingham City Centre of Excellence, receiving coaching from England players.... she is reaching for her dream thanks to this wonderful man. If he is guilty of anything, it is for showing intense desire and passion in every moment, he stands out above the rest at all times and so can become an easy target for such pathetic reporting and cheap jibes!!!
Everything that Joanna says above is so right. You have patchworked together a despicable article completely ignoring anything positive. And I know that you have met him when you were at Real, happy to be polite to his face! You should know better than this! You were happy to report and celebrate how Calderon singled him out in Pamplona when Real won La Liga.... embodying everything that Real stood for, fight, passion and determination to win, to never give up! That is Gabriel Heinze, a true fighter, spirited, passionate, loyal. Shame on you Joel, I am so disappointed in you, I thought you were much better than this! Vamos Gaby!!!
Really, i am disappointed, as nearly all writers, which wrote to you before i does now, are!!! I´m from Germany and i watch Gabi´s passionate all giving game since many years with much fun and joy! He´s the best defender, who i ever saw and i´m relieved to see, there are some guys here, who have knowledge about football. Real knowledge! You have it not, Joel !
I don´t know, from which tree you were jumping...that you are talking the same bull-sh*t, all in Madrid told. They need only an culprit and found one in Gabi! But, if the midfield and the storm in Real Madrid would work, as they should - for much more millions, than Gabi got - then he wouldn´t have to be in those f...situations, you are blaming him. Gabi was the only one, who was there, where he should be. But how can he manage all problems, the other 10 players did the whole game through. Now, he is away...and if you would have had your eyes open, you would see, what a precious player he is! It seems, the direction of REAL wasn´t able to give him this support, Didier gives him. Gabi is a jewel and Didier saw it, ever! Shame on Real, they didn´t recognize it! Only Bernd Schuster...but you also were unable to see, what he was able to do as a preciosu trainer. he put the team to a real team. You only haven´t had the patience to let it work. Now, look on your team...look at those losers! Ha! I laugh my ass off. Thinking, much money is building a team! You fools! Hah! Really...i laugh my pretty ass off.
And such a fan of them and low-level reporter is adoring them. That´s suitable to you! Shame on you and your very bad and not informed way to write. You are as a sheep, writing, what all others do! That´s not a good journalist! Gabi is with his little toe better in writing(and playing) than you! Of course, he always is honest and open and has heart! He has a big heart...he is a lion in playing and being a good human! You can learn from him. Look at him...may be, one day, you are an adult person, and may be, a person, who is not only writing, what others say...Look at France, they see Gabi´s attitude and his great fighter heart!
And learn from him!
Seldom i was so in rage, as i am in that moment!
As i said, luckily, there are others, also here, who see, what Gabi is able to do and what a bullshit you be able to write. Joanna...what a great comment. Whoever you are, you should take Joels job, you are much more professional in this! Good work!
I would love to have player like Gaby Heinze to Liverpool!
He has been the real heart of Argentina, there are not that many Argentine players that really play for the country. Of course, I understand it is difficult to take that Gaby is more English type of player than most English are. Physical and willing. Otherwise I can not understand why you wrote this? Have you seen him playing at all?
He has been rock solid in OM this season, and in Real Madrid, fans blamed him for every mistake defence did-no matter who did it. Well, of course, what else is new? Everyone who have seen RM this season know they really miss Gaby.
Looks like everyone who know what red card means can write about football....
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