Football, as long as we can remember, held almost a magical sense of prestige. Every one of us grew up dreaming about becoming a footballer. We dreamed of scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final. Only a few did... and became legends.
We grew up with no internet, no video games (at least for a while), and in many ways lived a simple life. At a very young age, sports were probably the last thing on your mind. Then one day your dad changed the channel, and you were watching the team that would forever feel like your extended family. Every single team had THE number 10 - the player that made us fall in love with the game.
Eventually, your dad took you to sign up with the local team. If you were lucky your whole family came to watch your games and was totally behind you. If you were even luckier, you made it to the pro level and understood that nothing is given to you.
It taught you that you need to work hard and fight for your dreams day in and day out. As a player, you quickly realized that no matter where you are from or the color of your skin, each and every player is equal and plays an important role based on specific skills. Their value depended solely on the work they put into the game, and nothing else.
We have not stopped playing since. No matter how old we are. Until the day we die, when we smell freshly cut grass or hear a famous TV anchor saying “Ladies and gentlemen...Good evening,” we will be transported back to our youth. The love of the game is embedded into our minds and souls. It will never be matched. Nothing will ever compare to the feeling we have when we are physically and mentally dominating the game. Absolutely nothing.
Very early on, we felt a deep connection and admiration with the player that “had it.” He was different. He could see the pass 3 minutes before everyone else. He caressed the ball like nobody else and made everything look easy. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele, can lay claim to being the greatest footballer the world has ever seen. It is useless to argue if he is or is not the greatest. In our mind, he is, period.
France in the mid 80’s was the synonym for style, elegance and playing the beautiful game. France’s midfield: Platini, Giresse, Tigana and Genghini, then Fernandez as his replacement, probably a quartet never matched since – LE CARRE MAGIQUE. This midfield and France’s team nicknamed “The Brazilian of Europe” enchanted millions.
There are many more players and games that brought joy and lifelong memories to us. We are not interested in a ranking of each and every one of them. We are looking for the common bonds that unite us: the play, the move, the poetry of the maestro conducting a team, the style that made all of us fall in love with the beautiful game.
Which one was yours?
Be a TENLEGEND.