Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
Last weekend’s action in Argentina was closer to battles in the Coliseum during the Roman empire rather than a set of football matches in the 21st century.
The gladiators went into combat with full-blooded zeal, there was blood, there were tears, there were fights, and of course there were casualties. Check out Olé’s compendium of the weekend’s foul play – replete with highly objectionable sound effects - to put yourself in the zone.
Then take a look at All Boys’ persecution of Racing’s Gio Moreno.
It is important to add here that in amongst the aftermath of this match, All Boys fans are furious that none of Racing’s tough tackles were included in any of the ‘highlights’ packages.
Anyway. After the game the All Boys coach, Pepe Romero, reprimanded his men for their physical approach. But this was before the news that Gio Moreno will miss the next 6-8 months through an injury picked up in the game.
Cue screen grabs, 24 hour sports channels wall to wall coverage, and an explosion on YouTube and Twitter.
Few people had forgotten the elbow that Hugo Barrientos landed on Rubén Ramírez’ face towards the end of last campaign. But when Barrientos then kicked Gio Moreno all game long last weekend, and Gio then kicked back in retaliation - putting himself out of action for up to eight months in the process - we were all reminded of that elbow, of what an evil being Barrientos is, how he should be banished from the country… and then some.
There are several layers of bad news from Giogate. First, is that there is no remorse – from anyone. Certainly not from Barrientos, who refuses to admit that he lead All Boys’ efforts to hack Moreno out of the match.
Nor was there condemnation from Barrientos’ team mates either. ‘It’s not as if he committed genocide, is it?’ responded All Boys keeper Nicolás Cambiasso when asked for his opinion.
The match referee says he gave nine yellow (!) cards, so he did his part. He also claims that he didn’t see many of the fouls, adding that Gio and Barrientos were winding each other up all match long (subtext: Gio had it coming).
Racing fans are up in arms, as they lose their best player for the whole season. Colombians lose their player for the Copa America. Racing say they are considering taking legal action.
Barrientos, meanwhile, also says he is considering legal action - against a number of journalists for inciting violence against him. He says his children received death threats.
Fans, meanwhile, lost all sense of proportion. All Boys say the others should stop crying, in no way admitting their team’s responsibility in all this. Racing fans meanwhile published where Barrientos lives on forums and announced protests at AFA, at Barrientos’ house, on the corner of their block… The real problem here is why Gio Moreno was injured, and in this, there are three culprits.
First are clearly the players themselves, who choose to try and kick their most talented opponents out of games, flagrantly ignoring anything resembling a code of conduct amongst fellow professionals.
Second there is the refereeing. If there a message sent out that violent foul play is not accepted – done by sending players off – it stops. But that message is never sent (curiously, it was the same referee who failed to protect Gio Moreno as the one who didn’t see Barrientos’ elbow on Ramírez).
The third culprit is the one party in all this who will never, ever, accept responsibility. The supporters.
No fan who has ever sung at matches demanding their players pongan más huevo’ – ‘put more balls into it’ – can complain when one of their own players is injured. Demanding more guts, more balls, more macho footballers, (while at the same time crucifying your club’s own players who do not demonstrably put in heavier challenges) means there is only one possible outcome.
The culture of más huevo, of winning ‘whatever it takes’, together with the permissive refereeing standards is what injured Gio Moreno, together with his own reaction. Singling out one player for a witch-hunt achieves nothing.
But fear not. Hugo Barrientos won’t play this weekend. He picked up his fifth yellow card against Racing, so sits this one out.
FIXTURES Friday Gimnasia v Olimpo, Banfield v Colón Saturday Argentinos v Independiente, Newell’s v Lanús, Vélez v All Boys, Racing v Boca Sunday Quilmes v Estudiantes, River-Huracán Monday Arsenal v Tigre, Godoy Cruz v San Lorenzo
Latest South American Football News
Riquelme stunner sends Corinthians crashing
River Plate fan falls to his death from top tier
Ronaldinho assists inspire Mineiro to victory
Independiente draw 0-0 with title-chasing Lanus
Real Garcilaso reach Libertadores quarter-finals
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010