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Youri Djorkaeff and the Chilean of the Century


Luciano Ligabue and Stefano Accorsi. What unites them?

Youri Djorkaeff. Because in addition to their declared Inter faith, the two - or rather, the 3 - have another dogma: the obsession with overhead kicks.

Twenty years ago in July, filming of Radiofreccia ended. The central monologue has become a famous credo .

“I believe in Bonimba's overturns in Keith Richards' riffs.
I believe that an Inter like that of Corso, Mazzola and Suarez will never exist again,
but that doesn't mean there won't be others that are beautiful in a different way.”

But there is more: in that line, "I believe in Bonimba's overturns, in Keith Richards' riffs", an intimately Tacchetteean soul is hidden.


Then talking about overhead kicks and artists is basically the same old thing: aestheticism, unconsciousness and courage that first enter the goal and then into everyone's footballing memory, going beyond parochial faiths. There is something impossible in that act. Almost. A few seconds that separate a fool from a masterpiece. Or who often unite them, leaving the audience in suspense admiring the only one of the twenty-two on the field with his head downwards.

In short, pure football hedonism. Natural talent or technique honed on suburban pitches in exchange for scraped knees. It matters little.

What matters is that like every artistic movement, every era of football has its painters, players capable of breaking metaphysics by turning the world upside down for a few seconds needed to brush the ball. Better if straight into the net. Any examples? Carlo Parola 's most beautiful canvas earned him the Panini sticker . Ligabue notes instead paid homage to those of Bonimba Bonisegna .

So in Tacchettee there is only one left: the Chilean of the century , that of Youri Djorkaeff from Armenia.

The Chilean upset of the century happens, like all bicycle kicks, in a few moments of wonder. Djorkaeff in an instant of lucid madness is suspended in the air and perfectly parallel to the ground, in an Inter – Roma match in 1997, won 3-1 by the Nerazzurri.
A gesture, that of the Snake , which will be celebrated as an icon in the Nerazzurri's season ticket campaign for the following season. Consigning it to history.

Youri Djorkaeff was probably one of the most brilliant footballers of his generation. The one that transformed stadiums into South American basins boiling with passion every Sunday.

An attacking midfielder with great technical skills, together with Ronaldo in those years he delighted those who were lucky enough to admire them as a pair at the Scala del calcio. In Italy and Europe.


A wonderful artist, the Franco-Armenian has blood descending from Kalmykia, the only territory of predominantly Buddhist religion in the entire European continent. However, he grew up in France between Grenoble and Strasbourg, then moving on from Monaco and Paris Saint Germain where he won the nostalgic trophy by definition: the Cup Winners' Cup, in 1996.

The following year he arrived in Italy at the court of Roy Hodgson where he showed the best things.
From there a very respectable list of achievements: he won - among others - the '98 World Cup where, in order, he would make Ronaldo - the Phenomenon - cry and he would sting Juventus, fierce championship rival in the press room with the statement that hit the headlines "the France favored by the referees because they are playing the World Cup at home? There is only one team in the whole world that is favored by the referees and it is not at the World Cup but plays in Italy." Having raised the trophy in the 2001 European Championship where in the final he took on Totti who had just scored the famous spoon against Van der Sar, it was then the turn of the Confederations Cup in 2001 and finally the UEFA Cup with Inter in 1998, where this time they celebrated together to Ronaldo.


He was a precursor to the late-career diaspora that sees European champions migrate to the North American MLS.
In fact, he ended his career in New York with the Red Bulls.

However, it remains in the imagination of that kind of ball that fascinates us: legs in the air, with the Olimpico in Rome holding our breath for a long moment from that brushstroke.

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