In appreciation of… Socrates

Few major football players ever looked less suited to their profession. With his tall, gangling almost skeletal figure, shaggy unkempt hair and funky beard, Socrates might have been mistaken for a Colombian pimp, a slightly demented Vietnam vet or a bohemian poet, but never a professional sportsman. Yet he played with a grace and fluidity of movement that belied his seemingly awkward physique. Socrates was not what you would call an explosive player, but his loping, long-legged gait could cover the pitch with deceptive speed. He had that elusive quality that only the greatest players possessed, the ability to make time and space for himself on the ball amid the fracas of a match. From his preferred position slightly advanced of centre midfield, Socrates would pick out passes all over the pitch with exceptional vision. He had a lovely touch on the ball and unflappable composure. When challenged, he would simply glide out of range and pass the ball on. His was an elegant style suited to a more aesthetically pleasing era of the game, based around skill, precision and efficient movement rather than the thundering pace, lung bursting stamina and frantic closing down of space in modern football. For a player like Socrates, his brain was far more important than his body.

A wonderful article about a wonderful player. Socrates died today aged 57.

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