The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
Remember when Manchester City tried to buy Kaká for £130 million, and Silvio Berlusconi flew back from a round of Middle East peace talks in order to supervise the deal, only Kaká came to the window, and he was crying, and all the chanting was disturbing his baby, and he touched his hand to his heart, and the Pleiades streamed down in the sky behind him, even though it wasn’t the right season, and Jupiter shone like an orb? Well, no one’s really had the courage to say this in the so-called mainstream media, but the real losers in that whole affair were Manchester City. They came with a big stack, and they found they were dealing with radiant forces of the solar system that their gleaming towers of commerce were as nothing beside. I can’t speak from experience, but I’d imagine that puts a pretty raw harsh on the kick of being a hereditary oil sheikh.
Fortunately, Michel Platini has been thinking about their plight, and he has brought to bear on the complexity of the problem his customary powers of insight. Which is to say: if you’re a member of Oasis, now would be the time to get impressed. Here’s what the Orion of Nyon had to say:
City can have a young player from Manchester who comes to their training centre and becomes Kaká. They don’t have to buy someone for €150 million because they have their academy.
Okay, granted, Platini said this—outwardly at least—as if he were criticizing Man City for not pursuing an active youth development policy. And that might be a reasonable criticism. But pretty clearly, that was just a front, because this is a strategy that would work so well it is almost legitimately frightening.
Think about it. Platini’s prohibited from directly participating in the decision-making process of a specific club due to some antiquated statute from a different, almost certainly stupider, era of UEFA. So the “criticism” is his only way to put out an actual policy recommendation. And you tell me: is there a weak point in this tactic? Just, you know, have a young player from your town come to your training academy. Next, have him become Kaká. There. You have Kaká. No need to sully the maiden honor of football by trying things that were not officially sanctioned by the Delphic Oracle at the first Olympic Games.
I just hope no other club gets hold of this firecracker before Manchester City can put it into practice. It would be such a drag if everybody had Kaká, you know…
by Brian Phillips · February 6, 2009