Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pele's Curse

10 May 2011: "Brazil legend Pele hails sensational Chicharito."

A delicious prospect really for the emerging Javier Hernandez to be acknowledged by the man who is considered by most to be the greatest footballer ever. While a significant majority of United fans (particularly the ones we never saw during 2004-2006: yeah the same ones who joined the haters in writing our obituaries earlier in the season) may begin early celebrations since our Little Pea has been hailed by the maestro himself, I can't help but wonder if this is a good omen for Chicharito. I'm trying my best to struggle with it but me mind keeps racing back to the last Premier League player that the Inventor of the Bicycle Kick had so profusely praised. 

The honour in that particular instance went to the revered Nick Barmby. Now, don't get so impatient you lot: the ones who were born in the 90s. What did you just ask me? The Hull City player? Don't be rude! Before strutting his stuff for The Tigers (really?), Senor Barmby had an impressive resume which included doing a McMahon by donning both the Reds and Blues of ScouseLand. P.S. It's the same Steve McMahon our brethren in Asia watch as a Football Pundit on ESPN. 

In the very early 90s, Senor Pele had made the following statement: "Nick Barmby is the English Roberto Baggio; he's right up there with Ronaldo, Zidane and Maldini." Phew! If football was sacrilegious in my homeland (I'm Paki, you paranoid Yanks), Pele would certainly be indicted in a Blasphemy case. However, I wouldn't discount the theory that Pele said it just to spite his fellow Brazilian, The Original Ronaldo. They loved a bit of banter those two: occasionally Ronaldo would publicly call Pele an asshole, that kinda thing.

There used to be a human being we all know as Midas, who touched anything and it became gold. Later in history, Pele was sent to Planet Earth primarily to dispel The Midas Myth. 

Remember all those World Cup predictions that Pele has ever made. Let's look at a few. USA 94, according to the maestro was Columbia's year as he had predicted them to win it. The result: not quite so. Columbia were knocked out in the very first round finishing bottom of their group. Tragically on returning home, their defender Escobar was shot dead by an angry fan for not meeting the nation's great expectations. Wonder if the Brazilian legend had anything to do with raising those expectations?

Spain were next in line - as soon as Pele nominated them the conquerors of France 98, Raul & Co. suffered a humiliating defeat to Nigeria and in trademark Pele style were dumped out of the competition in the very first round.

Next Pele embarked upon the great task of ensuring that Chairman Mao would get pissed off in the skies. He predicted that China would reach the Knock Out phase in 2002. No wins, no draws, no points. That's what the Chinese suffered in the end.

Not happy with tormenting the Chinese, Pele decided to teach a lesson to the French and Argentinians by predicting a France v Argentina final during the same World Cup. As per tradition, both teams got knocked out during the first round. However, this time even Pele was astounded by his great achievement: France couldn't even score a solitary goal.

Much before Ghana produced Michael Essien, they boasted of a youngster named Nii Lamptey. Along with the legendary Turin, Alessandro Del Pierro, he was the best prospect to come out of the Under-17 World Cup in 1991. In a classic 'What-Could-Have-Been' twist of fate, the youthful African caught Pele's eye. This time the Brazilian Geezer even outdid himself. He dubbed Lamptey as 'The Next Pele.' What followed in years to come was unsuccessful stints for poor Nii with clubs like PSV, Aston Villa, Coventry, Venezia and Ankaraguku. His personal life was marred by tragedy as he lost two of his sons at a very young age. In the end, Nii Lamptey summarized it as such: "I've been cursed by dark forces." Who knows he may have been referring to a dark South American.

In retrospect, coming back to the 'English Baggio' what exactly happened with Nick Barmby? After his debut in the colours of Spurs, Bryan Robson brought him to Middlesbrough. Moving on to Everton, he earned the Toffees' wrath by signing for Liverpool, where he couldn't hold on to a first team place. Leeds United signed him only to be relegated to the First Division and later lower than that. After his last stint with Hull City (another relegation), Barmby now coaches his local junior team, Hessle Sporting FC on Sunday mornings. Not quite the Baggio or Zizou ending, huh? 

I'm a bit concerned for our Chicharito, who in spite of my continuous mocking of spiritual beliefs, I'd sincerely advise to get some Mystical Armour. Unless, Pele makes an executive decision to listen to an advice given to him once by one of my all-time favorite strikers.

Romario once said: "Pele is a poet - when he keeps his mouth shut." 

Senor Pele! For the sake of our Chicharito's prosperity, please do us Red Devils a favour. 

Listen to Romario.


1 comment:

  1. well, hope his cursed won't work that well this time...

    after all, we're the Devils, right?? :p