It is one of the most revered of modern football players: it tells a new novel that seems a Sorrentino
Sports journalism, when done right, has the uncanny ability to drag the player in the field, among the players, to tell a story that is not just that of the ball, racket or basket; but a story with many layers and so many meanings. Marco Marsullo, this thing here, it does well. Napoletano, journalist of The Journal, writer – for his age – prolific. In his latest novel, The taxi driver Maradona published by Rizzoli, manages to combine effectively fiction and anecdotal, to unite the story of the protagonist – under the guise of a taxi driver – with that of a hero of the past, matador of the football field , sample (for real) of Spain.
The smoothness of the style and musicality of the construction periods are the foundations of The taxi driver to Maradona. Then there are the anecdotes about the time in California, that El Mago was caught with two blondes (more, actually) while he was on retreat with Barcelona (who then drove him); or of his wonderful friendship with José Monge Cruz, aka Camaron de la Isla, an expert player and flamenco legend.
It seems all a movie, a great movie, to there Sorrentino: and in fact, more than once, especially when at the end of career, weighed down and slowed by age, interview El Mago, seems to relive the scene of Tony Pisapia, a talented Toni Servillo, man Up. “You do not even know what the fuck that means. I love freedom. I am a free man”.
Jorge Gonzalez, the name of El Mago baptism, was a football player, a passionate lover and an absent father; his retirement, in his spare time, he was a taxi driver. He was named best player Salvadoran ever (under him, El Salvador is qualified twice for the World Cup) and Maradona once, he said it was even better than him. In the story of Marsullo, the reality joins a perfect narrative fiction: love, friendship, pain. The usual mix. And then there are the many why: why, for example, El Mago was so rebellious and unruly, because he liked – and he liked, yes sir – sleep late and skipping workouts; because he did not go to France, England and Italy when everyone called him; and why he had always preferred to wear the jersey number 11 to number 10 ( “it’s like there’s one more,” he said).
At the end of his career, Magico Gonzalez had nothing, not a reward, not a trophy. Only the recognition of its people, the veneration of the fans (and if you do not do for them, for those who do?) And the possibility – say the least – of being able to say satisfied. Despite everything.
What remains, then, of the ball, football and a sport; that remains the goal. Here, by the way is an interesting dialogue that Marsullo makes keeping the Magic in the car, with a very young customers, who talks about Messi. You saw, he asks, how many goals did he do? But football, responds El Mago, it’s not that. Football, he says, is “correct the moments when all seems lost. The matches will last a lifetime, not just ninety minutes, it’s like to never exit from the field. ” And “sometimes one confuses the greatness of a player with the number of goals he has in his career. When you forget that to get to those goals he has as many wrong, and as many times – insists El Mago – not even arrived in sbagliarli because late in the action, because it had slipped, because sometimes you just do not get. ” And because in the end it’s not just football. There is also life, the other one, the one off the field and you have to live with both things until the end. Sometimes even beyond. What a beautiful book