Barry the Pro - Ronaldinho could play into his 70s
Published: 18 Feb 2010 - 07:28:32
Ryan Giggs, Paolo Maldini, Stanley Matthews, Stevey Claridge.
You know the type, salt-of-the-earth, do-gooder footballers who steer away from the Wags and wagonwheels and focus completely on the business of kicking balls.
The payback for their one-dimensional existence is a career that continues well into their 30s, and bucket loads of adulation. It's almost impossible to mention Giggs without using a word like 'evergreen' or marvelling at how the old boy has 'adapted his game' in the name of longevity.
AC Milan, so we're told, are the masters at sucking blood from aging stars. The San Siro is like that swimming pool in Cocoon.
Maldini is the posterboy of Saga football, but there are plenty more where he came from. Clarence Seedorf, David Beckham, Filippo Inzaghi. All drinking from Milan's fountain of eternal youth.
So what's the secret? Training regime? Special diets? Scientology?
Whatever it is, it's working. But Milan are not resting on their laurels. In an attempt to produce the oldest footballer in Champions League history, they went out and signed Ronaldinho.
You know the guy. Silly face, preposterous hair like one of those guys from Def Leppard. But as my boy Dave likes to say, 'he got mad skills man'. God gave with one hand, and took away with the other.
But here's his real genius. The Brazilian maverick is one of the laziest players in history. World Cup, Champions League, Serie A - it doesn't matter how big the stage is, Ronny just ain't all that bothered about running around.
It's easy to be critical of this approach, but when you think about it, he might just be the shrewdest player on the planet. While Stevie Gee, Wazza and Co are running eight or 10 miles a game, Ronny is lucky if he covers the distance between my house and the local Spar.
All this extra energy helps his brain come up with fancy new tricks and work on silly facial expressions. The fans love those.
During the Champions League game against Man U on Tuesday, Ronny thrilled us with his otherworldy touches. But it was his laziness that made the biggest impression.
If he keeps up that workrate, the string-haired maestro will still be playing in his 70s.
- - -
Nag's Head have gone into administration. Well, not yet, but we do owe the league £156.30 in fines after 'Animal' decided to move to Australia without paying his fine for kicking a referee last season.
We're now on the look out for foreign investors with large overdrafts to save us. Chinese Ian has already said no, as has Nick the Greek and Polish Pete.
There's always 'Letch' - he's got a Thai wife, does that count?
READ BARRY THE PRO EXCLUSIVELY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK EVERY THURSDAY
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:barry the pro
- 'Bazza' lives, breathes and dies football every day of his life, before waking up the next morning to do it all over again. On the pitch his penchant for flowery flicks and tricks tends to frustrate his team-mates at Olympiacos Nag's Head FC, but all is forgiven when he shares his generous supply of male grooming products in the showers. BTP drinks lager and lime and has dedicated his life to scoring from the halfway line. Read him on Thursdays.
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