Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Divin Jojo

Twenty years have passed since a frail-looking youngster with long dark curls lit up European nights in a purple shirt. His virtuoso performances put a huge smile on the faces of Fiorentina fans. I can feel echoes of Roby Baggio in Stevan Jovetic.

Back in 1989 I was living in Borgo San Lorenzo about 20 miles from Florence and the city's visceral love for its idol emanated across Tuscany. The club had helped to nurse him back from serious injury and was now beginning to see that faith earn its reward. He dragged the Viola all the way to the UEFA Cup final.

Fast forward a couple of decades and it's Jojo in the Champions League. Last season Cesare Prandelli kept the boy snuggled up in cotton wool and used him as sparingly as Luciano Spalletti works a hairbrush. This term that softly, softly approach has allowed the young Montenegrin to grow.

This Fiorentina side is streets ahead of the team that lost its UEFA final to Juve. That year the talk in the bars around Campo di Marte was all about avoiding relegation and hoping for a brighter future. Nowadays, some supporters get grumpy if the club drops out of Serie A's top three or four.

Yet a similar magic links Baggio and Jovetic. Each one sends a frisson of anticipation through the fans which nobody else can match. The ponytailed one did it with his breakneck dribbling. The young pretender manages it with a first touch as gentle as a snowflake brushing your face on a winter morning. And then a crack of imagination like a hypnotist snapping his fingers to end his victim's slumber.

One night does not a career make, of course. But we should all be allowed a little indulgence from time to time. Sinking Liverpool was the football equivalent of one of those giant ice creams that makes your daughter's eyes light up with glee. There's time enough for indigestion - let's savour the flavours for now.


patcook said...

great performance. commentators in Australia spent the last 60 minutes talking about what club is going to buy him before he becomes too expensive.

ginkers said...

I know, I fear we will lose him sooner rather than later...

TrentToffee said...

"...football equivalent of one of those giant ice creams that makes your daughter's eyes light up with glee."

It certainly made my eyes light up with glee !! What a fabulous result for Fiorentina. And me :O)

Grab a point at Anfield and they'll hopefully put those red sods out, and go through themselves. And no one would be happier than me.

ginkers said...

I would like nothing better than to put Liverpool out. Although putting Lyon out would feel pretty good too.

In fact, I'll settle for getting through!