Warning: This post has a fair bit of cursing. You have been warned.
I am a big fan of Giovani dos Santos. He is one of my favorite players, and Tottenham Hotspur have never given him a fair shot. He is better than he has shown in his limited time with Spurs, and I know that if he was given a run of games with the first team where he was allowed to make mistakes, he would become a star.
There is a decent chance I'm delus...wait, no there isn't. I'm not delusional at all because Giovani dos Santos is awesome and if you disagree, you are either uninformed or a very, very bitter USMNT fan. I'm not usually this big of a dick, I know. But Gio is awesome and if you don't like him, I don't like your face.
However, lately, I've been thinking about how people call out Gio and others for character issues and not working hard. Someone whose site I like a lot made me do some more thinking.
Yesterday, there was a post up at Dear Mr. Levy about Gio and Adel Taraabt. Basically, the gist of it is that they're very similar because they're both incredibly talented playmakers who care more about themselves than the team. They're headcases and bad for chemistry, and as a result, it doesn't matter how talented they are. If you're a douchebag, we don't want you and we're better off without you. That was the basic premise.
Well, I couldn't disagree more.
All this junk about character guys this and that is just that: Junk. It's easy for journalists and bloggers to write stories about how the team with great chemistry and unselfish stars succeeds while the team filled with selfish Prima Donnas fails. Easy, and lazy. It's a tired cliche, and it's a load of shit. When's the last time you read a story about a team that achieved great things despite their lack of chemistry? About how having a team devoid of douchebags is overrated? It's way less common, but it's not like these teams don't exist.
Does anyone honestly think that the first time Ronaldinho got drunk, scarfed down a pizza, and fucked a hooker on a Friday night was in 2008? There isn't a snowball's chance in hell that's true, and all of you know it. Does anyone think that Juan Roman Riquelme is just misunderstood, and that all of his various managers that have thought he was a total dick are in the wrong? No way.
How have Chelsea managed to win so many trophies with an asshole like Didier Drogba? How did Manchester United win the Champions League with Cristiano Ronaldo? Everyone blasts Zlatan Ibrahimovic for being a cock and for not showing up in big games, but do you think he has seven league titles by complete chance?
These people all win things because they are fucking good at football.
Sure, we can blast Diego Maradona for not making the most of his career by spending most of his 30s on cocaine, booze, hookers, and cheeseburgers, but can anyone honestly tell me they would rather have Joe Lunchbucket, hard-working Englishman on their team than Diego fucking Maradona?
The fact is, Giovani dos Santos is better than most of our players. He is better than Steven Pienaar and Aaron Lennon. He should probably start on the right for Spurs, and at the very least, be Rafael van der Vaart's primary backup.
And Adel Taarabt? Who cares if his manager thinks he's a total pain in the ass douchebag. HIS TEAM WON THE LEAGUE. Yes, it was just the Championship, but they're a Premiership team right now. Do you know what league QPR would be in right now if Taarabt wasn't on the team and he was replaced by a quiet, hard-working player with half his talent? You guessed it - the Championship.
If you want a team that prioritizes attitude and adherence to a system over talent, fine. Just know that we'd become Everton or Aston Villa, and that those teams have been to the Champions League group stages precisely zero times in the Premier League era, and that they have won precisely fuck all.