Subject: Re: More thoughts on Brazil
Date: 6 Mar 1998 15:23:40 GMT
From: mdpaserm@login1.fas.harvard.edu (Marco Paserman)

Marcelo Weinberger wrote:

>Anyway, Cagao remains o mais grande do mundo.

Yes, but that's because he never had to face the fearsome
Italian defences. You South Americans might have nightmares
when you hear the name Gentile, but believe me, Maradona
and Zico would have never even dared to come and play
in Serie A if they had heard of the legendary feats
of Castelforte di Sotto's mythical back four: Di Giorgio,
Di Paolo, Di Marco and Di Giuseppe, complemented by
the amazing goalkeeper Di Luca. Their defensive toughness
could only be approached by their local rivals from
Castelforte di Sopra: Michelini, Giovannetti, Franceschelli
and Andreoni.

Let me tell you more: nobody *ever* beat Di Giorgio on a dribbling
(and came out alive). Actually Di Giorgio would strip the
opponent of the ball fairly 90% of the times, and would hack
the daring one down if he attempted to kick the ball past him
(not that it would have made a difference, since the great
libero Di Paolo would have saved the situation with one of his
legendary sliding tackles). The other central defender Di Marco
won every single aerial battle in defence, and he would instill
such fear in centreforwards, that very soon opponents would just
pass the ball to him, just to avoid being tackled. And can we
forget the elegant left full-back Di Giuseppe? He was as handsome
as a Greek god but as fierce a man to man marker as Di Giorgio,
and he basically invented the role of attacking full back. (All
tactical innovations come from Italy, after all).

Sadly, Castelforte di Sotto never managed to get any farther than
Italian Serie D7. Their problem was quite similar to that of Cagao:
they were so pleased with their defence, and so good at defending,
that whenever they won the ball, they simply would pass it back
to the other team, just to show them that they could stop any attacking
scheme. In ten years in Serie D7, Castelforte Di Sotto achieved
871 0-0 draws, and won once 1-0 (A penalty awarded because of a
dive by Di Giuseppe, but this is material for another thread...)

Subject: Re: More thoughts on Brazil
Date: 06 Mar 1998 17:01:37 +0100
From: Steve Jones (steve.jones@eurocontrol.fr)

Ah but _they_ never had to face the Ramsbottom brothers Alf, Bert and Fred,
seperated at birth these identical triplets turned up for a trial with
Wyre Piddle Wanderers on the same day.  There understanding was immediate
and total, they were all completely two footed and possed and an ability
in the air that led to the invention of the trampoline to combat their

Their combination on attack was legendary, they knew instinctively where
both the ball and each other were, so much so that their blindness didn't
effect them at all.  Scorers of a combinded 500 goals each season for 10
years, it was too difficult to work out which of them had actually scored,
they destroyed allcommers including the famous 1908 Ramsbottom v the League
game in which the three brothers took on every player from the football
league at the same time, the final score was 4-1, and there was a suspision
of offside on the League goal.

Subject: The greatest defensive unit ever to play the game
Date: 12 Mar 1998 17:01:01 -0700
From: mazzare@primenet.erase2mail.com (Ariel Mazzarelli)

It is a shame that Italians so easily forget the great Di Menticato.

When Di Menticato left his native Buenos Aires on a boat bound for the
land of his ancestors, il calcio was in a state of disarray. The position
of "libero" had been created to allow the captain of the team to feel
free to walk towards the stands and improve his relationship with the
regazzas. Forwards were allowed to score from all sorts of distances and
angles, and their achievements were celebrated as artistic compositions
by the opposing goalkeeper. It was commonplace to find a large pot of
ravioli behind the net, along with fresh bread and chianti, and plates
and silverware so that after a goal was scored the defenders could serve
themselves while critiquing the masterpiece; occasionally, they would
invite the scorer and toast to his good health.

So great was the bond between attackers and defenders in Italia that
their usual banter took on a different tone. Salacious remarks directed
towards the family tree of an opponent were devoid of malicious intent.
This is a typical dialogue of the day between an attacker approaching
the goal with the ball and his marker:

Defender: Last night your sister said I was a better lover than you are.
Attacker: I wish I had been there so you could have taught me something.
Defender: Don't worry. I asked my mother and she said that you have
excellent technique.
Goalkeeper: Eh! If you don't stop chatting you're never gonna score! Shoot
the ball already!

When word of this state of affairs reached Buenos Aires, it broke the
heart of Pappa Di Menticato, a descendant of a long line of anarchists
who left Italia when Benito Mussolini rose to power. The only memory more
dear to Pappa than calcio was that of his deceased wife. Soon afterwards,
Pappa fell ill, and on his deathbed he asked his son, a promising central
defender in the local league, to return to Italia and set things right.

And so Di Menticato left Buenos Aires to find work in the calcio leagues.
The trainers were impressed with this young oriundi, who was as Italian as
the locals yet bigger, faster, and stronger--having been raised on three
beef steaks a day. Like all oriundi from the Rio de la Plata, Di Menticato
brought some fresh tricks that were not known in the land of his ancestors.
He even remembered his father's advice about showing public respect for
Il Duce and kept a shiny picture of the man in his wallet--what others
did not know was that the picture's shine came from Di Menticato's spit.

And so Di Menticato was sought by all the big teams--Juventus, Milan,
Inter, Lazio, Roma, Fiorentina... but he chose his father's team, Napoli.
He was welcomed with open arms--his family's politics were not mentioned,
and soon the whole city was buzzing with rumors of the Gran Oriundi.

Alas, Di Menticato did not last long in Napoli. When he went to his
first training session, the squad's fantasista asked to see a nude
portrait of his sister and Di Menticato broke his jaw with one blow.
Then when the squad played an intramural match, Di Menticato did not merely
stop Napoli's best striker from scoring--he also gave him a double fracture
on the right shin, using a firm plancha, when the poor man made the mistake
of suggesting that he would pay the boat fare of Di Menticato's fiancee
so that they could swap wives properly. Before the sun was down that day,
Di Menticato was at the port of Napoli, seeking a boat to take him home.

As Di Menticato sat on the dock of the bay, wasting time, he sang his
favorite tango, "Antiguo Reloj de Cobre".

Antiguo reloj de cobre                  Ancient copper watch
que vas marcando en el tiempo           that marks in time
los pasajes de mi vida                  the events of my life
que me llenan de emocion.               that fill me with emotion.
Fuiste orgullo de mi viejo,             You were my old man's pride,
que te lucia en su cadena               who showed you off on his chain
como un cacho de sus a~nos              as a chunk of years
prendido en su corazon.                 clasped upon his heart.

Cuantas veces calmo el llanto           How many times it soothed the crying
de consentido purrete,                  of the spoiled kid,
mi vieja como un juguete                my old woman, as if it were a toy,
decia "Prestaselo"...                   said "Share it with him"...
y mientras el murmuraba,                and while he muttered,
mi vieja se sonreia,                    my old woman smiled,
y yo contento me dormia                 and I happily went to sleep
jugando con el reloj.                   playing with the watch.

Hoy ya pasaron los años.                Years have passed since then.
Se me fue blanqueando el pelo.          My hair whitened.
El rebenque de la vida                  Life's horsewhip
me ha golpeado sin cesar.               has struck me unceasingly.
Y en el banco prestamista               And in the lender's bank
he llegado a formar fila                I have come to stand in line
esperando que en la lista               waiting that from the list
me llamaran pa' cobrar.                 they call me to collect.

Perdoname, viejo,                       Forgive me, old man,
si de vos me olvido;                    if I forget you;
se que lo quisiste tanto                I know that you loved it as much
como lo quiero yo.                      as I do.
Se que desde el cielo                   I know that from heaven,
me estas campaneando,                   you are looking out for me,
y que estas llorando                    and that you are crying,
como lloro yo.                          as I cry.

Cuatro pesos sucios                     Four dirty pesos
por esa reliquia?                       for that relic?
Venganza del mundo                      Vengeance from this world,
taimado y traidor!                      so guileful and traitorous!
Me mordi fuerte las manos,              I bit hard on my hands,
el dinero me quemaba,                   the money burned me,
y mientras que blasfemaba               and as I blasphemed
a la calle enderece,                    I went up the street,
y a la imagen de mi madre               and I saw the image of my mother
vi que me compadecia,                   consoling me,
y llorando me decia,                    and crying as she told me,
"El viejo te perdono."                  "The old man forgave you."

Meanwhile, a pair of oriundi from the other side of the Rio de la Plata
landed in the port. Their names were Di Giorgio and Di Marco, bricklayers
by trade and futbolistas by passion. They had left their native Montevideo
(where futbol was still an amateur affair) when they had heard that in
Italia you could get paid well to play calcio. As they walked along the port
they heard our man singing tangos, and went over to him. They saw tears in
his eyes and silently tried to console him. After Di Menticato told them
what had happened, they realized that they would never be able to play in
Serie A. Though their dreams of fame and fortune were shattered, they were
so moved by what they heard that they resolved right then and there to stay
in Italia and play wherever they could--even as amateurs--to lead by example
and save il calcio.

The trio wandered around Italia, looking for a club where they could play
proper defense and doing odd jobs to pay their way. They were usually
turned down, and occasionally even found themselves touring the local
police facilities. One fine day they came to Sotto, a town that had
anarchist roots going back to the time of Garibaldi. They went to the local
tavern and as they worked their way through some bottles of fine chianti
with the local clientele, Di Menticato noticed that there was no portrait
of Il Duce on the premises.

"Excuse me, there is no portrait of Il Duce here".

The proprietor shrugged as he dried some glasses.

"Don't worry, I have one here. Take it, you can put it where people
can see it."

The room became silent. The Uruguayos kept drinking from their glasses
quietly, as though they did not notice anything. The proprietor made no
attempt to take the picture. Di Menticato insisted.

"Take it. Look at what a fine picture it is. Look at how it shines."

The proprietor put the glasses down. The Uruguayos reached for the bottle
and poured themselves another drink. The patrons started to make silent
gestures with their heads, bobbing them in Di Menticato's direction.

"Do you want to see how I make it shine?"

The proprietor curtly answered him. "Ok, show me how you shine."

So Di Menticato took a towel from the bar, spat on the picture and rubbed
it with the towel. Then he held it up, and with loud cheer everyone agreed
it was very shiny indeed. Then Di Menticato passed the picture around,
offering a drink to any man that could shine the picture as well as him.

In one table sat the goalkeeper of the local club, Di Luca, together with
two defenders, Di Paolo and Di Giuseppe. When Di Menticato approached them,
they expressed admiration for his huevos and asked him to have a seat.

As they talked, the locals confessed that they felt uneasy when they played,
as though it was nothing more than an elaborate ceremony devoid of spirit.
So Di Menticato told them about the promise he had made to his Pappa, then
motioned the Uruguayos over to the table, where they continued to drink
heavily while not saying anything. By the end of this historic evening,
the greatest defense in the history of calcio had been forged.

Although Castelforte di Sotto never rose to Serie A--indeed, they never
rose to any division above Serie D7, since all their games ended 0-0--their
example was a beacon that was seen far and wide in Italia. Defenders
and goalkeepers would make an annual pilgrimage to Sotto so that they
could be reminded of the error of their ways and ask for forgiveness.

After the war, the local monument to Mussolini was taken down and replaced
with a sculpture depicting a goalkeeper flying to stop a shot in the upper
corner of the goal, while to the side a defender stands over an opponent
that is clutching his ankle in agony, and a blindfolded referee stands
next to them. Around this sculpture there is a fountain, and that is
where the pilgrims come to toss a coin and pay their respects.