Thursday, December 14, 2006

Barthez Reborn

When I first began watching footie, knowing nothing really about the sport, I was instinctively drawn to the keepers. The position seemed to me a lonesome and existentially absurd one, in which long stretches of boredom are punctuated by moments of sheer panic. That says more about the kind of lousy keeper I'd make (my sporting philosophy, born of a black eye inflicted by a poorly passed American football when I was in the fifth grade, is to run away from, not toward, the ball) than it does about the actual job itself. Still, my initial affection for the keepers of the world was only reinforced when I discovered no shortage of eccentrics and ne'er-do-wells who'd held the line against the final onslaught of the opposing squad, like Colombia's Rene Higuita. Of these keeper-eccentrics, one of my favorites is the erratic and unreliable French national Fabien Barthez. I was terribly disappointed when he went into a forced retirement following the World Cup, when, following his resignation from Marseilles, basically no team wanted him (imagine!), and I'm delighted to report Fabien's about to be out of retirement and prowling the pitch once again: he's due to sign a contract with struggling Nantes and could be between the sticks again before the end of the month. Look out, Nantes--er, I mean, all you other Ligue 1 contenders!


Casper said...

Barthez is one of the most overrated goalkeepers ever. Even in France, a country not known for producing any good goalkeepers, he isn't the number one. He is and is never been more than average. If you are talking about worldclass goalkeepers, you're talking about men like Van der Sar, Buffon and CaƱizares. Compared to them Barthez is no more than bad imitation of a clown.

Lynda said...

Goodness, Casper sounds a tad tense about all this.

I don't see the word "worldclass" anywhere in my post, nor a suggestion that I am setting out to discuss world class keepers. I do see the words "erratic" and "unreliable," followed by an irreverent suggestion that Nantes might better look out for themselves in the wake of their new signing.

It's all in the reading comprehension skills, mate.

(side note: how might one assess clown imitations--versus the genuine article--as "good" or "bad"? A rather dismaying thing to ponder.)

Casper said...

Do you see anywhere in my post that I disagree with you ? Neither do I. Talking about reading comprehension skills...

When you react like an 8 1/2 months pregnant woman on any comment left on this site, no wonder hardly anyone leaves a comment here.

Lynda said...

Casper, you are such a charmer!

"If you are talking about worldclass goalkeepers..."

only I wasn't talking about worldclass goalkeepers. Hence my reading that you misunderstood my flippant post.

You'll get no argument from me on the merits of Buffon in particular.

In the future, I will endeavour to cease suppression of future potential commenters with my apparently hormonally induced rage. Cheers!