because at the last second it is true sport (it gives more joy and hurts more) –

from Beppe Severgnini

In many sports there is poetry of the last breath, no different from that which inspired cinema (Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless), theater or literature

We understand the sorrow of the Bianconeri friends, but they should not be surprised by the Nerazzurri ecstasy. Winning in the last seconds of a two-hour final it’s wonderful, at least how painful it is to lose like that. But sport – not just football – thrives on these things. Perhaps he even lives for these things. However, we all struggle to admit it. Because we know that in certain epilogues there is pure joy or extreme disappointment, and we don’t want to take risks. Better a result that is built over time, becomes predictable, does not test our anxiety and allows us to manage psychosomatic disorders.

Let’s go back to Inter’s victory over Juventus. In itself, nothing transcendental. Inter played well, but worse than other times. Juventus didn’t play badly, but better than in the recent past. Beating it, let’s be honest, no longer represents a consecration. And the Super Cup, let’s face it, is super only in the name: sponsors, clubs and TV like it, but it is a sort of polished Italian Cup, and like that one it suffers from existential problems. The Scudetto and the Champions League count. The rest, let’s talk about it. All this, in theory. Then you win at the last second – after Sanchez’s goal the ball hasn’t even returned to midfield – and everything changes. Even a boring cup against a normal opponent becomes a triumph against the titan. Perfect scenography: cross from Di Marco, assist from Darmian, goal from the little boy, stubborn Alexis Sanchez, known as Niño Maravilla (child prodigy, in Spanish). Three substitutes, demonstrating that we have a good coach and a good squad.

Football rarely offers epilogues like this, but it happens. That magical moment is still called «Cesarini area». Do you know who Renato Cesarini, known as Cè, was? Born in Senigallia in 1906, raised in Argentina, 135 matches between the league and the Italian national team, player then coach of Juventus and River Plate, who died in 1969. The expression “Cesarini area” was coined after the blue striker scored at 90 ‘the 3-2 goal against Hungary on 13 December 1931. He scored only one goal in the national team, he scored three more in the league (against Alexandria, Lazio and Genoa). Not many, but what a character! Emanuela Audisio tells us: “Cesarini has too much life to gamble only at the ninetieth, in fact he runs with a monkey on his shoulder, smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, learns Italian, he says, from the maitresse and opens a tangheria in Piazza Castello in Turin “.

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As we said, there is not only football. In many sports there is poetry of the last breath, no different from that which inspired cinema (Jean-Luc Godard, Breathless), theater or literature: the unexpected ending, almost out of time, is a spectacular narrative device. Think of the knockout in boxing, of certain downhill runs, at the last jab in fencing, at the last jump, at the 4 x 100 relay in Tokyo, to the recent success of Max Verstappen in Formula One. Think about basketball. Dan Peterson says he relied on when the last pitch was needed Mike D’Antoni: he wanted that ball, others were hiding. The legend of Steve Curry – the best shooter in NBA history – is also based on buzzer beaters (shots that “sound the siren”, entering the basket while time runs out). YouTube offers a collection, some from the midfield, a couple from their own line. Here’s what’s missing to Niño Maravilla and Inzaghi’s Inter: a goal at the last second, from midfield, perhaps in the derby with Milan. Then we can declare ourselves satisfied.

January 14, 2022 (change January 14, 2022 | 07:13)

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