by Sean Taylor
Ever wonder “what if?” Sitting around bored some days ago, it occurred to me the possible implications of these following hypothetical situations…
What if Lionel Messi opted to play for Spain instead of Argentina?
It was a distinct possibility in the early 2000s as he was a resident in Catalunya for so long, however the Rosario boy decided that his Argentine roots ran deeper than his adopted home.
- Messi possibly would have been most successful player of all time
- The European Championships as well as the World Cup might become another La Liga
- He could take all the international scoring records, starting with Pelé’s
- There would be an (even bigger) orgy of slick passes and goals every time Spain played
- Fernando Torres may not have played at all or even made it to Euro 2012
- Cristiano would have yet another reason to loathe Messi
- Fabregas would have had to wear another number than 10
- Aspirations to become a striker for Spain may not be the most attainable goal
What if Arsène Wenger pipped Ferguson to signing Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003?
A lot of people don’t know that Wenger was interested in the Madeiran youth at the same time, but Fergie won over his signature.
- The plot would have thickened between the United-Arsenal rivalry
- John O’Shea would relive that nightmare in Lisbon over and over every Arsenal clash
- Ashley Cole would not have endured this embarrassment
- He may have been bitch-slapped by the supremely ill-tempered Roy Keane
- Henry and Cristy would constantly argue over who should have the ball more
- The Arsenal attack would have been truly unplayable in 2003/2004 even with CR7 cameos off the bench
- United fans definitely would have crucified CR7 after the incident with Rooney in Gelsenkirchen at the 2006 World Cup
- Ljunberg’s flamboyant hairstyles would truly be reduced to a footnote
What if Pelé and Maradona were modern-day superstars?
- The argument of the best player in the world would revolve around four or five players
- Alejandro Sabella would have had to take a couple shots of gin before selecting his Argentine attack
- There would be a fist fight between the two at the Ballon D’Or awards
- Pelé’s goal tally would realistically be lower than the alleged 1000+ goals he has scored
- For the first time in a decade, a player would be banned for a “performance-enhancing drug” – and no, it would not be nandrolone
- The 2014 World Cup could have murderous repercussions
- More fans would have been on the Brazil and Argentina wagon
- (In the context of Messi playing for Spain) To Argentine fans Messi would be the scapegoat turning his back on his country while Maradona would be a cult figure. The two would be eternally juxtaposed, and heaven help us if the two teams met in 2014
- Pelé would dwarf CR7 for arrogance
- We would witness the first billion-dollar player as one of the big clubs’ Sheik owners throws his life’s earnings to sign one of the two players
- The football world would be horrendous place for defenders and goal keepers
Trinidad and Tobago was part of COMNEBOL instead of CONCACAF?
T&T is geographically part of South America, politically and culturally part of the Caribbean (similarly to Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname). So what if FIFA grouped us with our South American neighbours?
- We may have still been waiting for our first appearance at the World Cup
- On the positive side; attendance levels would burst at the seams during qualifiers as fans rush to see the South American superstars play us over the decades
- More global exposure with competitions like Copa America and Copa Libertadores
- Being put in such a difficult Confederation may make or break us
- Our football style may have had a distinct Latin flavour, like a Parang side
- Poor jokes aside, our stadia would need improving capacity and maintenance wise, because Brazil and Argentina don’t want to play on the hard pitches of the Larry Gomes Stadium
- Marvin Andrews may have been a household name in South America
- The door may have been truly opened for local players to play for clubs in South America
- Ronaldo may have been caught on camera wining on a bird during Carnival while on International duty
Yugoslavia was still a united bloc country?
- We would miss out on Croatia’s unique tablecloth kit
- They would have been an undoubtedly talented team
- The modern starting lineup may look something like this: Handanovic (SLO), Corluka (CRO), Ivanovic (SER), Vidic (SER), Kolarov (SER), Pjanic (BOS), Stankovic (SER), Jovetic (MON), Vucinic (MON), Krasic (SER), Modric (CRO).
- Kranjcar and Mandzukic would be in there for good measure as well, on the bench perhaps
What if since 1930 the Americans took football as seriously as they do with baseball and basketball?
- They might have actually have become a world power in football, considering the amount they have done for themselves in the last twenty years alone
- They would have added another few golds to their staggering Olympic medal tally
- They’d have another reason to brag and be arrogant as they after amiably known for
- The name Donovan may not be met with the occasional shrug in Europe
- As much as I’d hate to admit, they may have had a World Cup win by now… however by playing straight forward, tactical stuff. Nothing overly glamourous
What if Futsal replaced Football as an Olympic Sport?
- Brazil would get Olympic gold at long last
- The Olympics should make more money as people are generally more enthused about Futsal than Olympic footy
- Players like Falcão would gain an even more global prominence
- Club coaches in Europe would breathe a collective sigh of relief every leap-year summer
Spain makes a clean sweep of this year’s Confederation Cup and next year’s World Cup?
- It just may not make sense watching international competitions for a while
- This current Spain would undoubtedly be the greatest international team ever seen, based on consistent results
- Parking the bus may become the requisite tactic of national teams
- Modern-day Pelé would have yet another reason to hate the Spanish Messi, meanwhile Maradona would smugly remind Pelé that he was originally from Rosario
- Tiki-Taka may become the standard for modern teams if they want to challenge Spain’s authority; the insolent Brazilians would beg to differ of course
- The Spanish substitutes and fringe players would probably go on an alcohol, drugs and prostitutes binge while in Rio
Argentina won the 2014 World Cup?
- World may stop spinning in Rio as we know it
Sir Alex Ferguson was sacked after his first uneventful couple years at Old Trafford?
- Liverpool fans would actually have some relevance in a football discussion
- The EPL era would not have been such a monopoly
- With arrival of Wenger Arsenal may have won a lot more league titles seeing that they came second so many times in the early years, the same can be said for Chelsea around that era
- England may not have been as well represented in Europe during the 90’s
- Ferguson may have been appointed Scotland coach again, giving the Tartan Army some level of success in the 90’s into the 00’s
- He’d be known today simply as Alex Ferguson, not Sir Alex
- Man United may have pipped Chelsea and signed Mourinho in 2004
- David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Nicky Butt, Solskjaer, Yorke, Cole would not have attained their high prominence in world football
- The same can be said about Carrick, Fletcher and Michael Jackson *erm* I mean Valencia