Tuesday, December 19, 2006
You have to love Ivan Campo- while some footballers take care to meticulously groom their sideburns or shape and spike up their hair into an unmoving hipster mullhawk (Fletcher, Carrick, and unknowingly Hyypia), Senor Campo subscribes to the "free range hair" school of thought. This refugee from a brush seems to just roll out of bed in the morning and head in to work. He is also a refugee from the razor, a fact that when taken into consideration with the above grooming thoughts leads one to fairly question his other hygiene practices (tooth brushing, showering, fingernail trimming etc). He looks like the retired out of shape footballer who has let himself go and is content to lead a life of leisure (drinking gallons, eating all the pies, and Riviera romance with women half their age). Yet Ivan is even younger than me, and a perfectly fit, able player who in an unusual reverse migration has moved from central defense to central midfield. He only looks like a slob- he doesn't play like one.
At 32 the former Spanish international is in his prime, a goal scoring threat ( goal of the year contender against Spurs early in the season), a dangerous long thrower, and an able distributor who gives great cover. And he smiles when he plays. Like Ronaldinho he loves his job. He plays like he's got the best job in the world. You want player who plays with pure joy in your side. Players like Lee Bowyer seem to channel some of their inner hate on the pitch. It begs the question of how much longer Lee's police record would be if he were a bricklayer instead of a millionaire footballer. For Campo it's all roses out on the pitch- who says you can't be a tough, hard bastard and still like flowers, puppies, and white girls named Debbie too.
Ivan won the Champions League in 2002 with Real Madrid and then moved to the Northwest of England where he has not repeated this feat with Bolton Wanderers. Unlike a lot of glamorous foreign imports to the Premiership (C. Ronaldo, David Ginola, Shevchenko), Campo tops the list of solid professionals like Tugay, George Boateng, Dietmar Hamman and who do the business and play consistently at a high level without getting all the press. These are the players who make the Premiership the best league in the world. With them they bring new ideas and a more global outlook to England. Ivan Campo's teammates affectionately nicknamed him "Gyppo" for his perceived resemblance to a gypsy. -Patrick
Posted by The Editor at 9:39 AM