26 July 2007
Tonight I completed a kind of pilgrimage. Twenty one years ago, I was a spotty faced teenager who was fortunate enough to be playing in a soccer tournament in Portsmouth, England. My fortune was doubled because we were able to watch the World Cup every day, something that would not have been possible had I been home in Texas. On June 15th we headed down to the pub to watch Mexico vs. Bulgaria in round of sixteen match, the winner going on to face Germany in the 1/4 final. Mexico had never been further than the round of 16. They were playing in the nation's capital, playing in the largest stadium in North America, 114,580 fans packing the Estadio Azteca to the roof. Bulgaria, coached by the peripatetic Bora Mulitinovic, was a disciplined side prone to fits fo violence. Mexico had great hopes, recovering from the earthquake, asserting itself on the international stage, playing decent football, that sort of thing. Thirty one minutes into the first half, this happened: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drU2OzGuVfQ
There might be words to explain that goal, but I can't find them.
Tonight, I met the man who did it, Manuel Negrete. Negrete looks like many ex professional soccer players of a certain caliber. He is tanned, fit, confident, well-spoken and handles the press easily. We chatted in the kitchen area of the press box for about ten minutes. It's hard to know what to ask someone who has entered into the global consciousness in ways that you or I can never hope to do. He told me that last year, to mark the 20th anniversary of his goal, the Bulgarians flew him over for a tribute. Everywhere he goes, people ask him about the goal. He is clearly used to talking about it and has well polished answers: "very proud of my accomplishment", "it's opened some doors", "just one great moment in a long career". That goal clearly changed his life. He often finds himself in the same room, at the same dinner table, as Pele, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Sanchez. He is known throughout the world, by people born after that goal. I remember trying to practice that movement, that goal, that moment of genius again and again in the backyard, always failing and flailing. I'm sure there were many others trying to do the same. This was one of the purest moments of genius on one of the biggest stages of anykind, in one of the most pressure filled situations imaginable. Conjured out of (literally) thin air, the unmistakable brilliance is impossible to diminish.
But for all the glory and fame that has come of that one moment (12:35pm, 15 June 1986), that one goal that etched Negrete into the stone of the immortals, he is still trying to find his way, coaching here and there, working as a technical director, trying to find some way to latch onto the money machine that is global (and Mexican) soccer. After a 20 year career that took him from UNAM Pumas, to Sporting Lisbon and Sporting Gijon of Spain (a rarity for a Mexican in those days) he has taken up coaching, received his masters in soccer administration from the Johann Cruyff University (http://www.cruyffacademics.org/), served as technical director for Atalante and is currently on tour with Cruz Azul of the Mexican first divsion as part of Tecate's bid to sell more beer to the huge U.S. based Mexican community. I left our interview more impressed than I was 21 years ago when I stood up screaming in an English pub.
So after twenty-one years of thinking about that goal, I have met the man who scored it. A small circle is complete and he and I go our ways in the world of football.
Posted by Christopher Gaffney at 12:15 AM
2014 World Cup Rio de Janeiro Maracanã FIFA 2016 Olympics 2016 Summer Olympics Eduardo Paes CBF Copa do Mundo 2014 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Ricardo Texeira World Cup 2014 2010 World Cup Vasco da Gama White Elephants mega-events APO UPP BRT Brazil football Flamengo Lula Orlando Silva violence ANT Aldeia Maracana Carlos Nuzman Dilma Eike Batista Rio 2016 Sergio Cabral 2007 Pan American Games Campeonato Carioca IOC Jerome Valcke Novo Maracanã stadiums BOPE BRASIL 2016 Brasil 2014 Corruption Engenhao Joao Havelange Maracana Policia Militar Vila Autódromo Aldo Rebelo Botafogo Henrique Meirelles Medida Provisoria Metro Revolta do Vinagre Sao Paulo Sepp Blatter World Cup 2010 forced removal Carnaval Elefantes Brancos Fechadao Marcia Lins Minerao Morumbi Odebrecht Porto Maravilha Rio+20 Romario Security Walls South Africa South Africa 2010 TCU Transoeste protests public money public transportation slavery transparency x-Maracana Andrew Jennings Argentina Audiencia Publica Barcelona Brazil Carvalho Hosken Comitê Popular Confederatons Cup Copa do Brasil 2010 Cost overruns Crisis of Capital Accumulation EMOP FERJ Favela do Metro Fluminense Fluminese Fonte Novo IMX Jose Marin Leonel Messi London 2012 Marcelo Freixo Maré Museu do Indio Olympic Delivery Authority Perimetral Rocinha Soccerex Transcarioca bicycles consumer society debt idiocy militarization transportation 1995 Rugby World Cup 2004 Olympics 2015 Copa America Banco Imobiliario Barcas SA Belo Horizonte Bom Senso F.C. Brasilerao CDURP CONMEBOL Champions League. Mourinho Complexo do Alemão Copa Libertadores Cupula dos Povos ESPN England FiFA Fan Fest Istanbul 2020 Jogos Militares John Carioca Kaka Manaus McDonald's Obama Olympic Village PPP Paralympics Providencia Recife Russia Salvador Soccer City Taksim Square Tatu-bola Urban Social Forum Vidigal Vila Olimpica War World Cup Xaracana attendance figures cities corrupcao drugs estadios football frangueiro futebol mafia planejamento urbano police repression porn privitization reforms shock doctrine taxes 201 2010 Elections 2010 Vancouver Olypmics 2013 2018 World Cup 2030 Argentina / Uruguay ABRAJI AGENCO ANPUR ANT-SP Amazonia Ancelmo Gois Andrade Gutierrez Anthony Garotinho Arena Amazonia Arena Pernambucana Athens Atlético Paranaense Avenida das Americas BID Barra de Tijuca Blatter Brasil x Cote d'Iviore Brasileirão 2013 Brasilia Brasilierao Bruno Souza Bus fares COB COI COMLURB CPI CPO Cabral Caixa Economica Canal do Anil Cantagalo Celio de Barros Cesar Maia Chapeu Mangueira Chile 2015 Choque do Ordem Cidade da Copa Class One Powerboat Racing Clint Dempsey Comite Companhia das Docas Copa do Brasil Corinthians Cuiabá Curitiba Dave Zrin David Harvey Der Spiegel Eastwood Edge of Sports Escola Friendenrich Expo Estadio Expo Urbano FGV Fonte Nova Gamboa Garotinho Geostadia Ghana Globo Greek Debt Crisis Greek Olympics HBO Hipoptopoma IMG IPHAN ISL Iniesta Internatinal Football Arena Invictus Istanbul Itaquerao Jacque Rogge Jefferson John Coates Jose Beltrame Julio Grondona Julio Lopes Julio de Lamare Knights Templar Korea Lei Geral da Copa MAR MEX Manchester United Mangabeira Unger Maracanã. Soccerex Marina da Gloria Mexico Milton Santos Molotov Cocktail Mr.Balls Neymar Nicholas Leoz Nilton Santos Olympic Flag Olympic Park Project Oscar Niemeyer Pacaembu Pan American Games Parque Olimpico Pernambuco Plano Popular Plano Popular do Maracana Plano Popular do Maracanã Play the Game Pope Porto Alegre Porto Olimpico Porto Seguro Portuguesa Praca Tiradentes Preview Projeto Morrinho Putin Qatar Quatar 2022 RSA Realengo Regis Fichtner Roberto Dinamite Russia 2018 SETRANS SMH Santa Teresa Santos Sao Raimundo Sargento Pepper Security Cameras Smart City Sochi 2014 South Korea Stormtroopers São Januário São Paulo Teargas Templars Tokyo 2020 Tropa do Elite II Turkey UFRJ/IPPUR URU USA USA! Unidos da Tijuca United States government Urban Age Conference VVIP Via Binário Victory Team Vila Autodromo Vila Cruzeiro Vila do Pan Vilvadao Vivaldao Volta Alice Wasteland Workers' Party World Cup 2018 Xavi apartments atrazos barrier beer bio-fuels bonde capacities civil society comite popular copa sudamericana crack crime dengue dictatorship estádios favelalógica feira livre fiador flooding freedom of information furos geral graffiti guarda municipal host city agreement identity infrastructure ipanema istoe labor rape riots schedule school shooting security segregation social movements stadium state of exception supervia tear gas ticket prices torcidas organizadas tourism traffic tragedy trash trem-bala velodromo wikileaks xingar