Text by — ENNIO TERRASI BORGHESAN
Sir Alex Ferguson. The legend.
In 1990 Margaret Thatcher is still the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, George Bush(senior) is in charge of the US and the italian President is Giulio Andreotti. It’s the year of the “estate italiana”(“italian summer”), of the ’90 World Cup in Italy. Talking about cinema, Giuseppe Tornatore’s “nuovo Cinema Paradiso” wins the Oscar as “best foreign movie” , while “La voce della luna” (“The moon’s voice”), the last of Federico Fellini’s movies, is released. And Microsoft launches Windows 3.0, pawing the way for an incredible decade of technological innovations.
On May 17th, at Wembley stadium (the real one!), in London, Manchester United and Crystal Palace are playing the final of FA Cup for the second time in a few days (the first time, a week before, they tied 3-3). Manchester United takes over Crystal with a goal by Lee Martin, a defender from Cheshire.
It’s the first trophy for Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, former Scottish forward, already winner of several cups in the 80s with Aberdeen.
From that famous 17th May 1990 to 22nd April 2013 Manchester United wins the unbelievable number of 38 trophies: 13 League championships, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 1 European Cup Winners Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 1 FIFA Club World Cup and 1 Intercontinental Cup. In 1999 his Manchester conquers the “treble” becoming the fifth team in the history of soccer, and the second being also the winner of an Intercontinental Cup.
With Sir Alex Manchester is the “leader” of new age of English soccer, a benchmark of international soccer. Ferguson becomes the prototype of the perfect “football manager”, the talent scout, the “no nonsense” coach, also with stars such as David Beckam, an extraordinary example of longevity.
On May 8th 2013 the old Sir Alex has stopped, announcing his retirement.
We will miss him greatly. This frantic soccer, prone to money-making and to hurry instead of being dedicated to sacrifice and ideals, will miss him, that’s for sure.
Mario Balotelli, why always YOU?
In the soccer world 1990 isn’t just the year of Sir Alex’ first trophy. On August 12th Mario Barwuah is born, in Palermo, son of ghanese immigrants. As a three-year-old boy, Mario is adopted by the Balotellis, a family from Brescia.
His career has always been wonderfully unpredictable, the six years passed between Inter and Manchester United have always been full of breathtakingly beautiful goals, crazy tricks and fairly inventive scandals out of the field.
In 2013 there’s the transfer to the truly desired Milan, the team that Balotelli has always supported.
2013 for Mario means: lots of goals(18 in 24 matches of the Italian Campionato, 3 in 8 matches of Champions League, 7 with Italy), too many cards(13 to be precise), controversies and front pages, a fundamental role in Milan’s comeback and an equally fundamental part in some of Milan’s worse performances in the second half of the year.
While waiting for 2014, which is going to be the year of his first World Championship, Balotelli is as on a roller-coster, because, as always, unpredictable is all we can say.
Valeria Straneo, a Silver Fairytale
Regarding women, 2013 has confirmed what we already knew in 2012, year of italian ladies worldwide fame-worthy victories. Champions as Jessica Rossi, Sara Errani, Roberta Vinci and Federica Pellegrini this year have been capable of confirming the excellent results we got used to in the last years.
But in 2013 in particular we got to admire Valeria Straneo’s accomplishment, thirty-seven-year-old silver medalist in the Moscow Marathon.
But Straneo isn’t an average mom. She has a bachelor degree in Languages, two sons and a genetic disease, the spherocytosis, that modifies the shape of blood cells and consequently it causes anaemia. After a past as an amateur or so, in 2010 she begins to run again after the removal of the spleen. In 2011 she ran for the first time representing Italy, running the half-marathon Rome-Ostia in 1 hour, 7 minutes and 46 seconds.
Already in 2012 she had ran a great Marathon at the Olimpic Games in London, arriving eight with the regret of a stroke that prevented her from attacking the podium zone.
In 2013, three years after the spleen’s removal, the consecration: gold medal in the Mediterrean Games but most of all, an amazing world silver in Moscow, afer having almost tasted the gold. She’s an example for all athletes, especially the amateurs.
Armin Zoegger, the Immortal
2014 won’t be just the year of the World Championship in Brazil. It will also be the year of the Winter Olypic Games in Sochi, Russia, sharply criticized for political causes.
The italian standard-bearer will be a legend of winter games.
His successes are impressive: he continuosly got medals since 1994, 16 World medals at the Olympics, 16 European medals and 117 podiums in the World Cup.
The CONI president, Malagò, has defined Armin Zoeggler as “the greatest athlete of all times in the history of his sport”.
In 2013 the Carabiniere from Alto-Adige has extended his series of victories, nd at 40 years old the 2014 Olympics could be the climax of an unique career.
Marc Marquez, the best youth
In 1978 american Kenny Roberts entered history by winning the class 500 championship, the “queen” of international motorcycling, while he was just a rookie.
Five years after, in 1983, almost-twenty-two-year-old Freddie Spencer won the World title, beating the very same Kenny Roberts, and becoming the youngest champion ever.
It’s common knowledge that records are made to be broken, but a very small number of people would bet on the possibility to reach this levels. and an even smaller number on the possibility that the same person would have made it.
2013 has been, in motorcycling, the year of Marc Marquez, twenty years old, a “destiny child”(a podium in his first season, as a fifteen-year old, world champion class 125, two years after), the spanish made his debut in MotoGP, after winning the Moto2 title in Moto2.
All the experts were sure that Marc would have been a protagonist, but not everyone could have predicted the season of the Iberian boy: a never-ending sequence of records, for example being the youngest pilot to start in Pole Position and to win the race (at the second seasonal race), the first to win the almost impossible circuit of Laguna Seca. Out of 18 races, Marquez is on the podium in 16 of them(6 victories, 6 2nd places, 4 3rd places), he collects 9 Pole Positions and 11 fast laps.
These numbers lead him to the only possible final: on November 10th, in the Valencia, thanks to a third place Marc Marquez becomes the youngest World Champion in history, at the very beginning of his carrer.
A Legend is born.