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World Cup stunning moments
Bobby Moore never got a bathmat wet in his life. Mike Summerbee, who sometimes shared a room with Moore on England trips, said he was “the only man who could have a bath and get out dry”. Moore would flick the water off one leg, dry that with a towel and then step out on to the dry leg, before continuing the process with the rest of his body. Moore’s routine will come as no surprise to those who watched his immaculate, pristine defending. Nor will the fact that he brought such meticulousness to his wardrobe, where jumpers were hung up in order from dark to light. “It was,” says his first wife Tina in Bobby Moore: By The Person Who Knew Him Best, “almost an aesthetic pleasure to open the wardrobe.”
The fastidiousness demonstrated by Moore is one of the sub-genres of perfectionism within football. There’s also the impossible, self-torturing expectations of perfectionist-winners such as Soren Lerby and Roy Keane, whose business face should be the subject of a modernist painting entitled simply: ‘Standards’. Other significant manifestations include the perfection-making practice of forces of nurture like Peter Shilton or Cristiano Ronaldo, Spain’s obsessive-compulsive tiki-taka and Pep Guardiola’s need for control, and the artistic leanings of players like Eric Cantona and Dimitar Berbatov.
If you put all those types of perfectionism on a Venn diagram, the man in the middle might be Dennis Bergkamp, the perfectionist’s perfectionist. Thierry Henry
said he loved “Every. Single. Thing” about Bergkamp, but the thing he loved the most was the way Bergkamp trained, because “everything had to be perfect”. Bergkamp also had unrealistic expectations – of himself, if not necessarily others - and was a sucker for cleanliness. The Guardian’s Amy Lawrence noticed how starched his socks were during an interview 10 years ago, a revelation that would not surprise Patrick Vieira. “To make his kind of passes you have to like things to be perfect,” says Vieira in Stillness and Speed. “I wouldn’t be surprised if his clothes are really well organised. I wouldn’t be surprised at all.” Finally there is perfection as aesthetic idealism, the thing with which Bergkamp is most associated and which informed so much of what he did
Roger Craig Youth jersey
a football field.
Bergkamp’s imagination was his gift and his curse. It elevated him above his peers, but it is also meant he was in danger of driving himself round the bend aiming for something that he could not explain and which might not even exist; he was almost striving for Godot. The life of a perfectionist is not easy. Or so we’d imagine. Most people are casual perfectionists at best, and confuse perfectionism with self-loathing, yet it’s comforting to indulge that vague notion because the reality – that adulthood is what happens while you’re busy making compromises on your youthful ideals – is too dispiriting to acknowledge. Yet every now and then you come across someone for whom perfectionism is a way of life, who has no choice but to embrace an existence in which anything less than the best is a felony.
Perfection is a recurring theme of Stillness and Speed, Bergkamp’s excellent book. One chapter is called ‘It Has To Be Perfect’, which is both his mantra and an indication that his co-author David Winner wasn’t a Fairground Attraction fan. “Well, you set yourself goals, targets,” he says in this extract from
the book. “And once you’ve got there you want to move on and go further. You keep raising the bar and therefore it’s never good enough. You want perfection. It’s never good enough but it’s within your reach. You climb one mountain and see the
Will Fuller V Youth jersey
On 4 July 1998, Bergkamp climbed the highest mountain for 2.11 seconds – the time it took for him to produce the three divine touches and score the penultimate-minute winner against Argentina that put Holland into the World Cup semi-final. “Perfect” was Ruud Gullit’s description on ITV that night. “You never play the perfect game,” said Bergkamp later, “but the moment itself was, I think, perfect.” Both stalled over the P-word, as if they would be sent straight to hell for sacrilege should they misuse it, before realising that, actually, yes, that was the only way to describe it. Given Dutch football’s obsession with creative purity, you know something special has happened when a Dutch
Zach Zenner Youth jersey
footballer describes something as perfect.
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