The goalkeeper’s radical courage

In the book “The Freedom of Dribbling†, Dinis Machado defines the goalkeeper as someone who has a peculiar variant of courage: it is a “suicidal courage†; I would say it is a suicidal or heroic courage – it depends on success – because that goal line is painted horizontally for others, yes, but, for the goalkeeper, that line is vertical, it is a drop in the abyss; the goal line is a cliff and he plays 90 minutes with his feet right on the edge of that gorge, and with his back turned. It takes a certain type of person to accept this pressure.

Yesterday there was talk of Ronaldo’s courage to hit the second time after the failure of the first. Well, that’s the goalkeeper’s courage every day.

Yesterday I was so pissed at the team, how can they play so badly?, that I didn’t even suffer much on penalties. After everything was resolved, yes, I rewound the box, watched it and got emotional, especially because I inevitably remembered the times when my dream was to be like Diogo Costa, save the team, the school, the street, the from college, in a heroic penalty shootout. I dreamed about this so many times – but it never happened, of course, because I thought that being a goalkeeper was just instinct. But it isn’t. It’s work. “I kill myself working,†our man said yesterday.

Being a goalkeeper means always being on the wrong side, challenging the game’s tune; if the game is on AM, Redes is on FM, it is picking up another antenna, a broadcast that comes from the future. Now take a closer look: Diogo Costa was on another mental planet, in another time, he was two seconds ahead on the time tape and therefore knew where the Slovenians were going to put the ball. Redes not only challenges physics in movement, it also challenges it in time. It is, I assure you, the best part of being a goalkeeper: he is the theory of relativity with legs and a legal personality; the possible and the impossible in space and time are determined by him.

This magical status comes from intelligence and work. It’s not instinct, it’s not spell, it’s not macumba and shamans, Ricardo’s words or Eusébio’s towels; Yes, that’s a lot of emotional intelligence that knows how to read the opponent’s body in movement. Listen to Diogo Costa again: “I looked at the movement of their bodies†. That’s why he comes from the future, he detects what they’re going to do in his opponents’ body language. He’s a genius, a genius worked to the point of exhaustion. Diogo Costa deserves this immersion in eternal glory. Twenty years from now, my daughters and I will talk about this night, just like I talk about Ricardo’s night (2004) with my father.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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