Now a days we are all very much mesmerized by players who can run at speed. Players who can change direction at speed. Players who can shoot the ball with speed. Players who can head the ball and pass the ball with speed. Speed has become like a religion in some areas of the world and is celebrated over the world. I heard one guy saying the other day that “Gone are the days of survival for fittest, it is survival for the fastest”. Well, when talking about football, that is certainly true.
Ronaldo, Messi, Daniel Alves, Alba, Kaka all are players who epitomize this new style of play which is totally dependent on speed and power. Brute force is the name of the game today they say. Ronaldo can run at 100 miles per hour while Messi can cut and change direction faster than lightning. Alves and Alba are the world’s best right and left back respectively because of one important trait and that is speed. Awesome and abundant reserves of speed.
Things were not always like this in football. We have had players such as Zidane, Figo and Totti who did not have much speed (still could run with the ball) but still were ranked among st the greatest players of all time. Sometimes I think whether the game has become a little bit too much one dimensional where all the winning team has over the losing team is speed and power. Whether it be BPL or La Liga.
Still we find players such as Ibrahimovic and Pirlo making a name for themselves by being skillful on the ball rather than being speed demons. We see their touch on the ball and their trickery on the ball which is not built around speed but around skill and vision along with anticipation of the opposing player. That is the reason that I rate these sort of players higher than Ronaldo and Messi. Brazillian Ronaldo was the perfect players in that he had demonic speed and also had a good brain in him. He did as he liked. Sometimes used speed to go through players and sometimes used his skill on the ball to defeat his opposition single handedly.
Messi and Ronaldo cannot do that. Without their speed, they are finished. I wonder if training for speed all your life has a bad effect on your body. We all know that Ronaldo and Messi frequently talk about being fatigued and all. They also take supplements, pain killers along with other injections which maintain their level of fitness but then we see players like Pirlo also getting injured. Scholes was not really a talisman either in terms of fitness issues.
Whatever the case, I miss players who relied on skills of the game rather than pure physical strength to subdue their opposition. Wonder if that era would ever come back as more and more coaches are pushing players for maximum speed, power and stamina rather than touch, understanding of the game and passing ability. What do you guys think?