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.

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Juninho, Víctor Valdés, and the Mysterious Sources of Ineptitude and Genius

I waited to post this while I tried to decide whether it was caused by the brilliance of Juninho (arguably the greatest dead-ball striker ever) or by the confusion of Víctor Valdés (“he gets the job done”). Did Juninho’s mesmerizing shot lull Valdés into making the wrong choice? Or did Valdés’s inexplicable error allow an improbable shot an improbable path to the goal? I still don’t know, but if the ambiguous relationship between a mistake and a moment of genius ever made a fluky goal beautiful, this is the one.

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Juninho, Víctor Valdés, and the Mysterious Sources of Ineptitude and Genius

by Brian Phillips · February 25, 2009

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