The Sport Of Short Kings

The Sport Of Short Kings

Diego Maradona with his teammates celebrating the UEFA Cup on May 17, 1989. © Alessandro Sabatini / Getty Diego Maradona celebrates winning the UEFA Cup for his teammates on May 17, 1989.

Updated November 16, 2022 at 7:38 p.m.

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In August, Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi scored the first cycling goal of his long and illustrious career, and the internet found it hilarious.

As PSG beat Clermont 5-0 in their Ligue 1 opener, the shots may not have been as acrobatic as people thought. Messi is the same height as me, Bloomberg – only 5ft 7in – and the ball had to go deep down the pitch, so it's impossible to lift Michael Jordan. Meme accounts posted jokes about the height of the kick, and some photoshopped minibikes uploaded pictures of Messi flipping the ball upside down.

Here's the thing: Messi is still one of the best players in the world. Of the biggest football tournaments in the world, only the World Cup remains. And Macy isn't the only Hobbit among Ents.

There are many sports in which athletes excel despite their small stature, and there are sports that promote short stature, such as horse racing. In the NBA, where six-foot Allen Iverson is a short man, you only see guys like the 5-foot-3 Muggsy Bogues maybe a few times a century. sports in shorts Kings – under 5 meters 9 Let's say someone – they live with men over six meters tall.

Whether you're putting together a generational list of the greatest athletes or a current list, there are few sports in the top ten that have a pool of players who need to step up to achieve something in the top ten, and none. They are as popular as football. The All-Star roster includes the likes of diminutive Argentine Diego Maradona (5-foot-5) and Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta (5-foot-7). Speaking of players still playing, Croatia's Messi and Luka Modric (5ft 8in) have won.

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Of course, it's great to have a big, tall defender who dominates the air and intimidates attackers, or a big striker who can stop play and deny off-balance attempts. Being big in football definitely has its physical advantages. Just ask Cristiano Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But the shorter size has its advantages: a lower center of gravity, a smaller target and greater maneuverability in tight spaces. Having a good football team is like putting together a team to slay a dragon and reclaim your golden mountain – you need a tough hobbit to get the job done.

You don't have to take my word for it. In Messi's historic 2010-11 Barcelona team that won the Champions League and LaLiga, few players went over the two-meter mark and two of them were goalkeepers. Previous World Championship winners have had at least one Frodo Baggins, and they have many. What would Argentina have been without Maradona in 1984? Tireless French midfielder N'Golo Kante in 2018? Spain 2010 without player Javi Hernandez? Germany 2014 without captain Philip Lahm? Among the recent winners, Italy's 2006 team may lack the players it needs to prove its worth on the rollercoaster, but the Azzurri's two wins in this tournament are still thanks to Mizzella Jr. They owe it to Giuseppe Mezza.

As an athletic young man, that's always been one of my favorite things about sports, being indecisive, being able to go up against goblins and orcs. Being small has nothing to do with how you play on the court, and being big doesn't mean you'll dominate. Once, when I was a teenager in Italy, one of my teammates told me that an opposing player could be an Inter Milan player. The kid has to be 4'10" and under 10. We were all getting bigger and bigger. I shrugged. What's he doing? Then the game starts and this kid breaks his ankle going to the door, like something out of a kung fu movie. those scenes, where the room of evil characters is cleaned and left alone, and the evil ones remain. On the floor, he moans in pain.

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As a child I loved soccer, I loved watching and playing World Cup matches, but I didn't play well. When I entered college, I wasn't experienced enough or fast enough to play. I also started playing rugby, a sport that suited both body and mind—a low center of gravity and a thirst for revenge. But like my first love, football, it was never the sport of kings. Kings are short.

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This article initially misrepresents the year Maradona helped Argentina win the World Cup.

Short reigns in professional sports

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