Watching Racing-Platense the other day, I noticed that the playing field was in very good condition. And I thought then that the fields in Argentina have improved a lot in recent years. That of Defense and Justice is a billiards. The Independiente one is also very good. Like Estudiantes and even Boca, which before flooded as soon as two drops fell. That remains River’s, which many define as the best. I recognize that it is an impeccable field, but – beyond River, but in general terms – I do not like fields with a mixture of grass and synthetic grass (and much less those that are all synthetic, like Palmeiras, in Brazil ). It is true, to be honest, that when the U-20 World Cup was recently played in Argentina, many fields were not good. But it was a World Cup organized on the fly, in a hurry, and played in stadiums of teams that were not playing in the Libertadores or the Sudamericana, or important championship matches.
Good fields favor more precise football, playing first or two touches, improving oriented control – a technique that increasingly occupies a more important place –, in addition to favoring the aesthetic issue: it is much nicer to watch a game on a perfect field . All that is true. Very sure. But is it wrong if I say – in a low voice, almost with shame – that sometimes I miss the disastrous fields of before?
You had to have a lot of talent to get it down and make a first-class pass while the ball was bouncing around. You had to be crack to avoid kicks and pits at the same time. In Desde La Boca, Martín Kohan and Ricardo Cohen include an impeccable chapter about playing on muddy fields, which adds a reproduction of the famous photo of El Gráfico of Gatti, Brindisi and Maradona muddy, dirty like miners. Maradona, I said, now that there is almost a new anniversary of his birth. Maradona playing on fields in Italy, full of mud, sawdust, and bush-sized grass.
We miss Maradona very much. Not only his football, obviously, but his speech. His word. Can you imagine a Maradona alive and lucid in these times? Can you imagine Maradona giving his opinion about Milei? What would he call it? The Wig? And Bullrich and Massa? There are no decision-makers today, to use a neologism, like Maradona. There was a moment when Maradona had become just that, a voice, that voice and the myth of him behind it. Despite being universally known, Maradona was never a consumer leader. The big brands quickly withdrew and, unlike the Messis, the Cristiano Ronaldos, etc., etc., nobody bought this or that boot because Maradona wore them, or watches, or clothes, or anything else. While the Messis, the Cristiano Ronaldos, etc., etc., have an aspirational dimension, a public image that is intertwined with the commercial aspect of that figure, Maradona, before his final decline, was just a voice. A myth and a voice. A unique voice.