When I was a boy, I was fortunate enough to read a book which is an excellent classic, one of the many brilliant pieces from the old Spanish literature. This novel is called 'El Cantar de Mío Cid'.
Now this was the story about a Spanish knight called Rodrígo DÍAZ DE VIVAR, born around 1041 or 1054.
Known as 'El Cid Campeador', this man was a master military tactician and he was feared by all the other armies. He was invincible.
In 1094 he conquered the city of Valencia and became the ruler. It was a strategically placed city and it was under a constant pressure from the Almoravids. In one of the Almoravid attacks on Valencia, El Cid was hit by an arrow and died two days later.
Here's when the story gets interesting. Soon after he died, the Almoravids heard about it and decided to charge again to conquer Valencia. Little did they know that on the eve of that epic battle, El Cid's army came up with a brilliant plan.
What did they do? They got El Cid's dead body on his famous horse called Babieca and then they tied him up so he looked like he was alive (pretty much like the movie 'Weekend at Bernie's' if you allow me to compare such a classic novel with a silly -though incredibly funny- movie!). They gave him his sword and they formed around him as they defended the city from the Almoravid attack.
What happened next?
His enemies couldn't believe what they were seeing. They thought they had killed the man already. That's when they started thinking El Cid had supernatural powers. They thought the man was from another planet. They were scared to death and they had no option but to surrender and escape. How could they beat a man coming back from death and famous for having won every battle he fought?
Such was the fear and horror his figure would cause in his rivals. He was death. He was gone. But still, he managed to win that famous battle anyway.
I see Lionel MESSI (though he is pretty much alive and kicking and he needs no horse or sword, thank goodness), as a player that's able to cause the same effect on his rivals. Will Greece be as confident in their chances as they would be if our very own Cid Campeador was not playing? I don't think they will surrender and leave the pitch...but for sure they will fear him and they will take precautions if they want to stay alive and Lio can eventually make them pay.
Kind of like what MARADONA did when his ankle wasn't ready to play against Brazil. I mean...that thing had the size of a melon! He couldn't walk properly, but he played through pain and eventually, he killed Brazil in 1990. Four or five men in yellow lost their heads and went only after him. They wanted to stop that almost mythological figure and in trying to do that, they committed a capital sin and they left Claudio CANIGGIA wide open. That was their undoing. That was all our General Diego needed to lead his team to victory.
The more I though about it since yesterday, the more I realised we really need to play him from the start. Let him rest only if we are winning comfortably after a reasonable portion of the game has gone.
Keep MESSI on the bench when qualification to the next round is not secured at your own risk.
Give him the captain's armband and then wait for him to inspire our troops while he frightens the enemy.
I think this thing really has the makings of an epic story.
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