An anonymous bidder paid £74-million for Edvard Munch’s The Scream in the wee hours of yesterday. Real Madrid paid £80-million for Cristiano Ronaldo’s screams in 2009. It is hard to say whether the extra £6-million Madrid paid for Ronnie got them better value than the painting by the Norwegian, which, the Guardian reported yesterday, is “celebrated by the therapy industry with its horrific depiction of stress and terror”.
Ronaldo can depict stress and terror like few others in the world, his ability to hit the ground after coming within a metre of the whisper of the possibility of a tackle is has inspired others, just as The Scream – the cheaper one – has inspired, and again in turn to the Guardian, “film references, from the knife-wielding villain of the Scream slasher movies to a famous scene in Home Alone, where child star Macauley Culkin imitated the painting's famous pose”. Luis Suarez, Ashley Young, Steven Gerrard, Didier Drogba and 30 percent of both the SuperSport United and Pirates players in this week’s desperate and dire Absa Premiership encounter (that said, Pirates and SuperSport seemed more intent on kicking each other than the ball, something Gavin Hunt complained about later).
Young’s recent antics have even brought a rebuke towards his own player from Sir Alex Ferguson, who worries that he might bet himself a reputation as a diver. Too late for that, Sir Alex. Young goes down quicker than one of those ladies of negotiable affection. Young is a penalty seeker. He is a born actor, his falls to the ground so close to the real thing that referees would be forgiven for looking up to see if there was a shooter on a nearby grassy knoll.
In an interview with the International Sports Press Association Jiri Dvorak, Fifa’s chief medical officer said: “We need to ban players faking injuries on the field, which seem to happen for tactical or different reasons. There might not be a contact and suddenly you find a player crawling on the pitch. In such cases, the referee cannot do anything.”
Well, he can. He could go up to the player and prod him with the toe of his boot to see if he stirs. Perhaps he should have a low-voltage taser with which to test for signs of faking. It’s amazing how quickly a few volts up the jacksie will get to the truth out of you. Playing for Rhodes University I remember an opposition player diving to get a penalty against my brother, Barry. He smiled as he got up. He knew he hadn’t been touched. Ten minutes later he was running down the right wing and I kicked him off the field, hitting his right shin with my left foot and his right with a trailing leg. My captain ran up and told me: “That wasn’t necessary.” I looked down at the now writhing, screaming former diver. “Yeah, actually, it was.”