Edgar Davids celebrates for Juventus

Princess Diana dying, September 11th, JFK being shot…

People say you always remember where you were when these things happened (in case you’re interested, celebrating my birthday, thanks for that Di, in my bed, and not born).

If you were aged 8 and up around Euro 2000, you will remember an advert in which Louis van Gaal told you, “it’s rounder” and then a whole load of superstars took on a warehouse filled with robots in samurai suits in order to steal the much rounder ball back.

I’m completely unsure as to why any of this happened, and I certainly can’t remember being at Easter Road thinking ‘they really need to do something about this ball, it’s just so square’. However, anyone who remembers this advert will remember one thing: Edgar Davids’ skill.

The back heel flick is something myself and all my friends spent the next 4 months trying to perfect and the leg around the ball (I doubt that’s its official name) trick was another that heavily featured. The sad realisation is that a camera crew, lighting experts and a killer soundtrack can make any trick look far more incredible than a soggy, rain-washed field in a Scottish mining town, who knew?

Davids started his career, like so many other Dutch greats, at Ajax where he probably had his most prolific goal scoring run (20 goals in 100+ appearances) then it was a 10 year spell in Italy, minus a small loan spell to Barcelona, where he formed a formidable partnership with Ronaldinho at his best. It should also be noted that in 2004 when he played in the Camp Nou that a young man named Lionel Messi started his life in the Barcelona A team. Not sure what happened to him though.

After starring in Italy for A.C. Milan, Juventus and Inter- although they terminated his contract with a year left- he moved to Spurs. If you ask any Spurs fan what they thought of him them the word ‘Legend’ seems to prevail over any others, which given his relatively short spell (2 years and 40 games) is the mark of the man.

From Spurs it was a return to where it all began, Ajax, where he helped the team to 2nd place and lost out by 1 goal to PSV Eindhoven in becoming champions yet again

If that was the end of things then perhaps I’d be happier, but a rather odd move to Crystal Palace and then a 2 year spell at Barnet as player-manager where rumour has it he once missed an away game in order to attend the Playboy Mansion. It’s a regret that I did now make it to one of their games whilst he was there.

So there you have it, the life and times of a football giant, a Galactico that never quite made it to Madrid and my all time football hero.

The fact remains that due to that advert, Edgar Davids will always have a place in my heart as the greatest trickster in football, and I don’t mean that whole legal battle about the glaucoma that resulted in his famous glasses. Pele named him in his top 100 living football players and he is possibly the only reason anyone, other that die hard fans, decided going to see a Barnet home game was a good idea.

Let’s end it on a high…

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The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Edgar Davids



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