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March of 1966: Jenő Boskovics interviews Giuseppe Meazza
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2021-08-18 12:16:31
Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
March 1st, 1966, Internazionale travelled to Budapest to face Ferencváros for the second match of the European Cup — 1965/66 edition. Giuseppe Meazza, the old Italian star, who at the time was working for Internazionale, could not be ignore in such rare opportunity. Jenő Boskovics, alongside Francesco Zilai, asked a few questions regarding interesting topics to Meazza. He asked whether Meazza would accept, and the classic footballer said:
Written by Jenő Boskovics
Published on April of 1966.
— A short conversation would still be little to list the names of many excellent old Hungarian footballers, — said Meazza. — Well, how much more time would it take to relive their experiences! Hirzer, Sas, Avar, Lázár, Aknai, Cseh, and the others live in my memory as if we had not played against each other for thirty years. Here is, for example, Aknai, the excellent goalkeeper of Újpest. We fought a huge battle at the time in the Central European Cup. Once Ambrosiana won, then Újpest, and we played the final match. The excitement was endless. We were already nearing the end of the match, when I had a poor header in a good position. The ball fell exactly to the descending Aknai, but his hands trembled so much that he dropped into the net by the just drifting ball.
At the time this incident occurred, the black-haired Meazza was one of the most famous goal scorers in the world. Unfortunately, we Hungarians could also be convinced of this. In that memorable 5:0 Italian-Hungarian match, which took place in Budapest in May 1930, he scored three goals against Aknai, and he loaded the net of the goalkeeper of Újpest with more goals in the already mentioned Mitropa Cup match.
The old ones were very nice matches — the “retired Bambino” recalled the past.
— They were prettier than they are today...
Meazza quickly got to the topic we actually wanted to ask about. How does a former famous player see the difference between old and today’s football?
— Old football was more beautiful, but today is more exciting, — he replied. — At that time, there were more opportunities for technically trained footballers to shine, but the game could have been more spectacular. Today, distressed manpower, defense systems, accelerated pace have fundamentally changed everything. Constant voltage for hotter minutes than the old ones. No one is destined to decide which is better. The point is, I shouldn't underestimate the old or the current. Footballers of my age had an easier time, but today there are more opportunities for players who are undoubtedly better used in all respects. What would an old big team or a player in modern age football be looking for today? It is certain that they would have a place, because who used to be a talent would not be ashamed in today's circumstances.
Meazza was always and now is close to fire, that is, he was close to many triumphs or bad luck. He also mentioned that over the decades, he had heard frequently that football was in trouble, its future was sad.
— When I think back to these "funerals", — Meazza continued, — it turns out that the football crisis has always been voiced in the house of the losing sides. It is no different now. I do not think that the world crisis or the teams that triumph in international battles even accidentally talk about the sports crisis, but those with moderate results talk about it all the more. It is a huge mistake for countries that have declined in the standard of football to generalize the trouble to football all over the world, to cover up their omissions in such a way. Let’s think about it: are they grieving today because of the future of football, for example, in Brazil, England, or Italy? No sound is heard about it. However, what do they say about, for example, the French, the Uruguayans and the others? I wonder for myself, what will be the mood change then after the World Cup?
So we got to this year’s World Cup.
— There are no football fans who are not already excited about the England match series, — Meazza said. — If I assume that Italy did not succeed in the mesterhármas either, I have to predict that Brazil will not be a world champion again. The preliminary odds are in their favor, I think they will certainly go to the top four, but there are surprises. Brazil, England, Italy and Spain will struggle to reach the finals. The formation of this quartet may be hindered by the Soviet Union. My Hungarian sports friends, I hope they are angry that I don't expect their national team to be among the top four. I can’t do it because I could take my predictions then as politeness rather than a well-founded opinion. Hungarian football is not good now, and in the time available until the World Cup, it is unable to bring in the difference that the Italians, English, Brazilians or Aspans, for example, have before them. They can't expect too much in Hungary this time, they seem to be a good tip for the sixth or seventh place. I think that the Hungarian fans and their leaders would be satisfied with this placement.
Francesco Zilai, an old acquaintance of Meazza, who this time assisted as an interpreter, gave our last questions to the two-time world champion. We asked him to put together the best team of all time and mark who was the best player in the world so far.
— A difficult question, — Meazza replied immediately. — I have met many thousands of excellent footballers for decades, choosing eleven or one of them is not an easy and it is ungrateful task. The best footballer in the world for me is not Pelé, Di Stefano, or anyone else, but a player that few remember. The Belgian goldsmith, the unbeatable Braine, is in my opinion the best player of all time, who chased the ball in the professional team of the Czechoslovak Sparta, and also played in many matches against the Hungarians. He was characterized by wonderful technique, unsurpassed work ability, rare goal strength. Of the recently known stars, Di Stefano is comparable to him, but Alfredo could not come close to Braine in terms of efficiency. My team looks like this:
Zamora - Domingos da Guia, Facchetti - Kupfer, Dr. Sárosi, Lázár - Matthews, Eusébio, Braine, Pelé, Orsi.
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