Anorak News | Hand Of God

Hand Of God

by | 20th, April 2004

‘THERE is the scent of irony detectable in the Guardian’s picture of the dangerously ill Diego Maradona.

‘Have you seen these men? If so, please contact Mr C Ranieri…’

In the shot that sits on the cover of the paper’s G2 supplement, one of the best footballers ever to have raised his right hand (as he did against Peter Shilton all those moons ago) gives the world a kind of sideways thumbs-up.

The difference is that whereas last time the Argentine waved an arm in our face he wanted only to cheat England, this time he wants to cheat death.

And we should have some sympathy for the man, whose physique has succumbed to the ravages of excess.

But from what was to what will be, and the Sun’s lead story on Chelsea’s Champions’ League semi-final tie against Monaco, the first leg of which is to be played tonight.

“I want to say thank you to all England. I’ve been so delighted fans have shown me all this support,” says Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri, whose future will become clearer after tonight’s match.

“I’m in love with English football and I don’t think that will ever change and I want to stay in England whatever happens at Chelsea. England is the best place to work.”

It certainly is when you’re winning. But if Ranieri does leave the Blues, as seems increasingly likely, we wonder what a few months toil at a new club, say, Tottenham, will do to his sunny disposition.

But our attention is momentarily diverted off the Italian by what appears to be another Argentine footballer. Do our eyes deceive us or is that really Juan Sebastian Veron?

It is! Call off the search party. Veron is alive!

Some of you will remember that Chelsea bought the player from Manchester United, billing him as the greatest midfielder there was.

He then disappeared. And now, just as Chelsea reach for the very pinnacle of European football, wouldn’t you just know it, but there he is, smiling and speaking to the Telegraph.

“Losing the semi-final is not an option,” says the man. Only it is; it is one of two.

But Veron can lead the Blues to glory. The Guardian is of the opinion that the Argentinean will start tonight’s game, replacing the industrious but largely ineffectual Scott Parker on Chelsea’s problematic right.

If Veron does play, then we hope Chelsea win. If they were to lose, Veron might pick up another injury and melt into the ether once more…’

Posted: 20th, April 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink