1986 The 20th century’s greatest dribble needed 10 years to come about.
While a uniform can enhance an athlete’s abilities, it can also smash one’s talent.
Although this footballer debuted on the national team at the age of 16 when his impressive talent earned recognition, he was not chosen to compete in the tournaments athletes dream of competing in due to his lack of experience.
It was six years later, when he was 22, that he was selected to finally compete on the team, which was now the reigning champion.
He wore number 10. The expectations—or to put it another way, the immense pressure—he felt must have been considerable. In the first round-robin matches, he made his first goal. The first match in the second round after racking up some wins in the first round, he was thoroughly marked and rendered powerless in a defeat where he was not allowed to perform as expected. In the match with Brazil where defeat would spell elimination, the opposing team again held him in check. After watching his teammates get fouled, he deliberately kicked an opposing player.
Following his red card, the team suffered its second consecutive loss and was eliminated from the tournament.
The 20th century’s greatest dribble
Four years later, he made what was called the “Goal of the Century.”
Receiving the pass while still in his team’s own half, he dribbled his way alone past one opponent in the trap, spinning away from another and then two more with exquisite timing, never relying on exaggerated feints before finally getting past the goalkeeper and slotting the ball into the net for the goal.
Just 13 touches of his left foot.
It was 10 years after first putting his arms through the sleeves of the national team’s uniform. After winning the final match, he was hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates in victory.
On his chest: the embroidered le coq sportif emblem.