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Interesting Footballers

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Post articles, stories, videos, or your own write ups on footballers that you personally find interesting not just in the sport but outside of.

 

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When football began to emerge as a rival attraction to bullfighting in 1920s Spain, Ricardo Zamora was the sport's number one icon. In a career spent at Espanyol, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Nice, he held celebrity status in his homeland and became the highest-paid player on the continent. Many still consider him the finest goalkeeper the country has produced.

Despite controversy on and off the field, he broke through the barriers of sport, starring in advertisements and even two films, while his trademark cloth cap and white polo neck helped cement an iconic image. As author Jimmy Burns put it in Barca: A People's Passion, he "adopted a dress code that marked him out as one of the great eccentrics" and "made him look like an Argentinian on his way to play polo in an English winter". He was a showman in his play, too, patenting the Zamorana save, in which he would deflect the ball with his forearm or elbow. More significantly, his incredible reflexes and bravery marked him out as one of a kind.

Born in Barcelona in 1901, his parents had shown little enthusiasm for football as the young Ricardo would return home with torn clothes and injuries, and they were particularly unkeen when one wound threatened to turn gangrenous. At 13, he was persuaded to pursue a medical career, but he became a goalkeeper for the local team, Universitary, at 14 and made the acquaintance of Josep Samitier, the future star of Barcelona, Madrid and Nice. His parents persisted in their attempts to make their son focus on his studies, but Barcelona founder Joan Gamper eventually convinced him that he should continue with football. (Besides, as a man who smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and had a notable fondness for Cognac, he was no poster boy for the medical profession.)

Despite Gamper's words, it was with local rivals Espanyol that he began his senior career, making his debut as a 16-year-old, and there he helped the club to win the Campionat de Catalunya in 1918. After falling out with one of the club's directors, though, he made the move to Barcelona in late summer 1919, and he was soon to become a superstar after he was included in the newly-formed national side for the 1920 Olympic Games. continue https://www.espn.com/soccer/columns/story/_/id/1004268/the-mavericks:-ricardo-zamora

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