We have all done it.
Any budding footballer out in their back garden as a youngster (or between you and I, way beyond an acceptable age) dribbling past invisible world-class defenders, Cruyff turning at one end of the garden and flying back up toward the house before rasping a right footed shot into the far corner of your goal-post, or in my case a rickety old swing-set and running over to the rotary washing line that substitutes as a corner flag and receiving your audience from jubilant spectators. That will be the pigeons on the satellite aerial and the next-door neighbour looking at you quizzically from the dunny then.
Running commentary used to come out of my mouth, given substance by my warm panting breath hitting the British dusk air as I half whisper my best Martin Tyler impression.
Sure, while you do it you can shout your own name, like Marco Tardelli’s magnificent celebration for Italy after scoring a vital goal against West Germany, to this day I am still convinced he reels away shouting ‘TARDELLI’ from the top of his lungs. However I also liked to pretend to be my favourite stars of the day. These were usually confined to Andrei Kanchelskis, Niclas Alexandersson or other obscure Evertonian’s such as Joe-Max Moore or Tomasz Radzinski.
However emulating your own stars is not something the mere mortal is subjected too, as Santi Cazorla revealed he bases his game around fellow Spanish wizard Andres Iniesta. Iniesta is certainly not a bad footballer to emulate, and so far this season you can certainly see the comparisons.
Santi Cazorla has been in terrific form and if emulating Barcelona and Spain’s effervescent midfield maestro is the cause of such excellent form then he should continue pursuing. In an interview with Marca Cazorla stated:
"I try to copy the things he does, but it's very difficult. The problem is that when he does them he makes them look easy, but then you try it and you get all tangled up. Andres is a role model on and off the pitch."
Maybe Santi Cazorla does know what it is like to try emulate your idols and fail- but he shouldn't be so harsh on himself.
I am sure many a young Arsenal fan is currently doing up and down the country on pitches, in parks or their own back garden, uttering ‘Cazorla’ under their breath.
Can Santi Cazorla become a par player to Andres Iniesta? And which former superstars did you pretend to be when you were a kid?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald