Friday, October 24, 2008
Wenger backs Gallas after Arsenal captain photographed with cigarette -- Guardian Headline
Football's come a long way. Guiseppe Meazza was the only player in the Italy squad permitted to smoke, because he was that good. Matthias Sindelar smoked and cavorted with prostitutes during his playing days, yet still managed to beat defenders for fun.
Gallas, I can say without too much controversy, is not and never will be the same class of player as the above. But I have some sympathy for the man. I would imagine that, as a professional footballer at Arsenal, it must be frustrating to have to remain in peak physical condition all the time -- never to go on a bender, or smoke cigarettes and eat beans and potatoes while downing pint after pint of good old fattening lager -- only to see your club remain locked in a perpetual struggle for fourth place. Goodness knows what he got up to at Chelsea, but I would imagine a man with Claude Makalele in front of him probably felt comfortable washing down his post-match sushi with a can of Sapporo and a couple of Gauloises Rouges.
And to add insult to (thigh) injury, Gallas' cigarette apparently wasn't even lit! The Premier League champions paid 25 million pounds for Berbatov, a man caught on camera actually smoking, and not even while leaving a seedy club half in the bag but during some half-arsed window-shopping in SoHo. Defenders never have it easy in this goals-goals-goals world. Have a smoke on me, Dubya G.