Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, May 11, 2006


Sports Watch
Au Revoir to the Quintet!

By, Quazi Zulquarnain Islam

With another exhaustive league season drawing to a close there is much to look back and reflect upon.

The Serie A has gone down to the wire in a season mired by allegations of fraud and bad refereeing in favour of Juventus. The Spanish Primera Division has also had its fair share of controversies and they have had their fairytales as well with Villareal pulling off a near perfect European adventure. In the Bundesliga, Bayern retained a double-double meaning that they became the first team to defend the double.

And in the English top division Chelsea too retained their crown although a spirited fightback from Manchester United will leave them moral winners come next season perhaps.

There have been stories galore with the World Cup this summerRooney's injury, Totti's comeback and what not! The tabloids have been all over the place finding and unleashing stories upon the public.

However this season will hold for me a special memory as it well herald the end of a magnificent era of superstardom with many established stars of the past set to call time on a career that has invoked my generation to admiration. (No I am not that old!).

So whom are we talking about?
First and foremost, Zinedine Zidane, that French maestro who scored two headed goals to win the World Cup for France in 1998. Still the most expensive player in the World and perhaps one of the most creative players of all time. You run out of superlatives for the man of whom his teammate Bixenti Lizarazu once said, “ If you don't know what to do with the ballgive it to Zidane.”

Lizarazu or “Liza” as he is more commonly known also calls time on his career after a span that has seen him win everything there is on offer. The World Cup, Champions League and league titles galoreLiza has done it all. In his day the best left back in the world bar none.

Completing the French trio and another from the Les Blues team of 1998 is Marcel Desailly, that strong center half who plied his trade with Chelsea and Milan and formed a formidable partnership with Laurent Blanc in the French rear-guard.

And the farewell tour would never be complete without mentioning perhaps the greatest English striker of this decade, a one time most expensive player in the world and one who has always oddly never played for a big club. That man is Alan Shearer and the burly England front-man will now take up a managerial role with Newcastle United.

And last but definitely not the least is Dennis Bergkamp, the Dutch ace, who broke the collective hearts of the world in 1998 when his sublime control and finish fooled Roberto Fabian Ayala and left the ball nestled into the back of the net after receiving a long 60-yard pass. Dennis the Menace as he is called by those most fond of him is a non-flyer and never travels to away games by plane. But such idiosyncrasies aside, it cannot be denied that the flair and élan with which he played the game will forever be remembered across the world.

Zidane for his breathtaking skill, Lizarazu for his finesse, Shearer and Desailly for their strength and sheer willpower and Bergkamp for his artistry all five have won themselves a part in the hearts of football fans.

They shall be missed.
As usual mails are welcome at ( zulquarnain.islam@gmail.com)


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2006 The Daily Star