• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Tarantino's latest movie, starring Atletico Madrid and two dangerous Diegos . . .

IF Quentin Tarantino makes a football film - a Hugganfield Loch Dugs - then there is no doubt who should play the manager.

Diego Simeone once said that he plays football as if he has a knife between his teeth. Picture: Daniel Perez/EPA
Diego Simeone once said that he plays football as if he has a knife between his teeth. Picture: Daniel Perez/EPA

The swagger and dress sense of Diego Simeone make him so Tarantino one can hear the jangling soundtrack and see the slow-mo shot of the Argentine heading towards the dugout with the sort of purpose and menace that suggests it is a machine-gun nest that has to be cleared out. Nae bother for Diego.

Simeone has taken Atletico Madrid to the top of La Liga with a mixture of tactical nous, inspirational speech and the recognition that he has a fine squad that he deploys with purpose.

He has also made Atletico my Spanish team, a huge achievement given the history of the club includes a visit to Scotland that Tarantino cannot watch because it is too violent. I speak - with a quaver in my voice (I do so love a cheese snack) - of the night in 1974 when Atletico came to Celtic Park and did not so much assault the home side but subject them to the sort of tackling that later formed the basis of the SAS killing manual.

Atletico had three players sent off. Many others stayed on only because the referee showed such leniency that one wondered if he had just wandered from the visitors' dressing-room. Atletico left with a 0-0 (the best of 145 falls, as I remember it) and then played brilliantly and elegantly in the second leg to advance to the European Cup final.

However, I have put this past to bed because of Atletico are now my Spanish team. Curiously, they have not mentioned this in official club literature but, as the season chef once said, it is surely just a matter of thyme.

My conversion to Atletico was dramatic. I did it on stage. No I didn't. I did it because everyone started to like Barca, my original La Liga team. I loved Barca when they were rotten. I am indebted to Sid Lowe's brilliant Fear and Loathing in La Liga for confirming that Barca were once so bad a former player said a book about them should be entitled When We Were Crap, or words to that effect.

But once Barca became brilliant I started looking for another mob. It was as if Barca had turned the game into some kind of athletic form of flower arranging.

This refugee from the killing fields of Scottish fitba' needed something a bit more authentic. Simeone and his gang provide this spice in doses that bring tears to the eyes of one who pines for fitba' with a purpose and a sliver of menace.

Atletico are not just a fine side with such as Koke, Gabi and Arda Turan. They are also ever so slightly mental. They have always had good strikers with Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao all capable of hitting the back of una bolsa de cebolla (onion bag). But now they have Diego Costa. Diego is as mad as a bag of cats who have been told that all fish have been made a protected species and that there is a curfew on the streets and they have to be back in the house by 10. That mad.

Costa is also so good that he has played for the Brazilian national team and has now chosen to play for the Spanish national team.

Simeone once described himself as playing with a knife between his teeth. Costa plays as if there is a knife at his throat and he is determined not only to disarm his assailant but throw him down a flight of stairs.

"Sometimes I may overcook it," he once said of his on-field behaviour that has all the petulance of a two-year-old who has waited six hours to see Santa only to find that all is left is a burst selection box, and all the aggression of a wolverine who has just been informed that he is dining at a vegetarian-only restaurant.

But Costa is a killer in front of goal. He has hit 19 in 17 games in La Liga. He has also hit a series of central defenders and has accused them of trying to make him "lose his mind".

He now faces Barca tonight at the Estadio Vicente Calderon. This will be termed as a shoot-out by the media. I anticipate a Tarantino bid for the for the film rights.

Contextual targeting label: 
Block list

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

204901