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.
There are vials of ink waiting to be spilled on the insane apotheosis underway at Real Madrid, who have just been given permission to spend a record-annihilating £80 million on Cristiano Ronaldo after buying Kaká for a merely record-shattering £56 million last week. You could write on the return of Florentino Pérez and the apparently unabashed resurrection of the Galacticos idea; you could write on the way these moves have peeled the eggshell off the myth of English financial dominance and swallowed the contents whole; you could write on the deranged logic of building a team around two players who temperamentally and stylistically seem to cancel each other out, then handing it over to a manager with no experience coaching superstars. You could write on the way in which this is the legacy of this year’s Barcelona team—to have provoked Madrid into overreacting, convulsively, with the only tools they know, like a giant taunted until it puts its foot through the church.
But for now, given the impossibility of seeing the future (Ronaldo and Kaká could be brilliant together, as hard as that is to imagine now) and the sense that we’re still in the outer rings of what’s about to become a very tight and very terrifying spiral, I think all we can say is what Paul Wilson said in the Guardian Sport Blog this morning, with understatement that just about catches the right tone:
one suspects if things ever start to go wrong they could go wrong quite badly.
And maybe this, from Spenser:
With that all mad and furious he grew,
Like a fell mastiffe through enraging heat,
And curst, and band, and blasphemies forth threw,
Against his Gods, and fire to them did threat,
And hell vnto him selfe with horrour great.
Thenceforth he car’d no more, which way he strooke,
Nor where it light, but gan to chaufe and sweat,
And gnasht his teeth, and his head at him shooke,
And sternely him beheld with grim and ghastly looke.
Oh, and this:
by Brian Phillips · June 11, 2009