Men, women, and kids everywhere agreed when Pele referred to football as “Jogo Bonito”, or the “beautiful game”.
The game itself was embodied by Pele. He displayed heart, honour, and delight throughout the game.
He believed he owed the sport, not the other way around. The Brazilian superstar had a major role in making football the universal phenomenon that it is today.
Football is full of surprises and exciting moments. Be it Leicester’s title win in 2016 or Barcelona’s La Remontada against PSG.
Be it Arsenal’s Invincible season or Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League victory. And oh, how can we forget….Aguerrrrrroooooooo.
The greatest of players have the ability to produce magic and awe at will.
Each generation, each era, has players with outstanding individual abilities. From Pele to Maradona to Ronaldinho to Messi and Ronaldo, there are countless clips on the internet that will keep any football fanatic busy for hours, if not days. A beautiful game indeed.
What makes the game truly beautiful is the quality of the players who do not just produce results, but make the game a wonder to look at.
This is what the Brazilians have always been the best at – flair.
No other country consistently produces players capable of edge-of-the-seat footwork and technique. They possess what is known as the “Samba Gene”.
Neymar, in recent years, has epitomized what the Brazilian fuss is all about.
When such players receive the ball, there is a buzz in the air. What’s their next move? Beat the player? A no-look pass? A skill move you didn’t even think was possible? An audacious goal?
This is why when Antony, the latest Brazilian to come on everyone’s radar, started showing his flair at Ajax, the world was excited to welcome the next entertainer in football.
With eye-catching 360° turns nicknamed Antourny and unpredictable Ronaldo-esque stepovers, he brought back the Brazilian touch the game was afraid of losing.
The same ability and flair brought him to his new club, Manchester United, who forked out €95 million plus add-ons to acquire his services from the Dutch outfit.
And it was a debut to remember for 22-year-old as he found the back of the net to put United ahead against Arsenal.
If being on the scoresheet was not enough, Antony, staying true to his genes, was also caught showing some nifty footwork during the game.
However, the player is now getting criticised for a piece of skill he showcased.
This video shows Antony performing seemingly unnecessary stepovers on the ball, while also failing to deceive any Arsenal defenders.
Zinchenko, Arsenal’s defender, can even be noticed changing his stance from alert to relaxed after he realized Antony’s stepovers were just for show.
Like clockwork, reactions poured in on social media.
Some have even questioned United’s decision to flaunt this seemingly useless piece of skill.
Besides being seen as a sign of disrespect towards your fellow players, Antony would do well to not harm his reputation as a showboat without a cause.