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Zvonimir Boban: the Superhuman

Many think, perhaps even rightly, that football is a simple sport. On the contrary, the media spiel that accompanies modern football only makes it even more unpleasant to the snobbish eyes of a certain audience, the fact that it is so viscerally followed to the point of being considered almost a faith, a feeling, comes in some way. ridiculed. After all, let's look each other in the eye, football is a game. It's just a game, we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously. At least not all, at least not always. Not so for people like Zvodimir Boban.

6 Republics, 5 Nations , 4 languages, 3 religions, 2 alphabets, one Titus

Behind 22 players who run after a ball, behind tackles, shots and plays, there is the deepest humanity. The way the footballer looks at the ball, how his foot kicks it, the kind of exultation. There are many small signs that allow between the lines to translate a unique language that can give life stories. But it can also happen that behind 22 players on the pitch, behind the fans, always so mistreated by the advent of modernity in football, there are armies, governments, peoples. Put that May 13, 1990. At the Maksimir Stadium, between the slopes of Mount Medvednica and the Sava, the first act of the Balkan War is staged. There is no cup, there is no ranking, there is no score. There is geopolitics in play. There is a Yugoslavia that slowly begins to crumble and to show it to the whole world, because the regime's banks began to dissolve definitively in the face of the vital need of the peoples, of the many peoples put together. Only a memory will remain of the land of Tito. And Boban still doesn't know.

The crumbling of the Balkans

On that afternoon in Zagreb, the home team, Dinamo and Belgrade Red Star are apparently on the pitch. On the stands, however, what is metaphorically happening throughout the Balkan territory is staged. A week earlier, the nationalist Franjo Tuđman won the first Croatian elections, with the global geopolitical scenario changing in the space of two years. The Wall was gone and the Slavic dictatorship was slowly crumbling like reinforced concrete that fell under the blows of pickaxes between West and East Berlin.

Dinamo Zagreb - Red Star, beyond football

For this reason the match between Dinamo Zagreb - Croatian team - and Red Star of Belgrade - Serbian team - became a special and metaphorical showdown between Croatian nationalists in the wake of self-proclaimed independence and the Socialist Serbian masters who defended the work of Slobodan Milošević. From Belgrade about 3,000 Delje, a fringe of Red Star fans, had become 3,000 soldiers led by expedition leader Željko Ražnatović, later known to the world as the tiger "Arkan". The figure of Ražnatović will go down in history not only as the "leader" of the Red Star supporters, but above all as the leader of paramilitary groups during the war in the Balkans. The scenery is surreal enough to leave that afternoon to history. The 3,000 delje, led by "Arkan", enter the stadium, after having already created clashes outside, they are isolated in the guest sector. In the pre-match the Serbian curve destroys everything in front of it, from advertising signs to child seats. All accompanied by chants of threat against the newly born Croatian nation. Until the clashes took over on the pitch and in the rest of the stadium. A real guerrilla warfare. Faced with the bellicose intent of the Delje, the Croatian fans tried to defend themselves, were it not for the fact that the Zagreb police were mostly in favor of the regime. Everything was allowed, the policemen became more delje. It was no longer a question of football, nor of police, but of a real guerrilla that resulted on the green lawn.

Dejan Savicevic and Zvodimir Boban: the Slavic stars

And to think that the match had to decide the fate of the championship. Two of the brightest stars of that generation of phenomena: Dejan Savicevic, a Montenegrin who played with the red and white shirt of the Red Star, and Zvonimir Boban, playmaker of Dinamo Zagreb. Two crystalline talents, who from simple adversaries on the field, find themselves in war. A narrow escape for the "Genius" Savicevic, who, together with the Red Star players, was escorted to the locker room by some policemen. In fact, the Serbian team will be able to escape in a military helicopter. Fate completely opposite to the players of Dinamo. Some players remained on the pitch to witness what was happening on the green lawn. Among them is a 21-year-old boy, as strong as he is brave, born in Imoschi, in Dalmatia, just before Herzegovina. With his feet she knew how to do us very well.He had a dream in your heart wear the Milan shirt Silvio Berlusconi. Zvodimir Boban told years later during his collaboration with the Gazzetta dello Sport, the dawn of the feeling of him. The dream in the drawer Zvodimir Boban " It was Christmas Eve 1988. A friend of mine calls me and says," Zvone will not believe this, I'm going by Berlusconi for an interview. " I was incredulous, I asked him how was succeeded: my friend had written a letter to Silvio Berlusconi, president of AC Milan, explaining to be a Croatian journalist, who shared his same passions, football, AC Milan, Rivera and he wanted interview. A few days later he went to Arcore: made it, l ' "exclusive", and went to great. This was my first contact with the man who was already doing great AC Milan. I was hoping to go once there, at Arcore. In May of 1990 I played for Yugoslavia's Under-21, in Parma, against the Blues, and I made a good race, after which there was the first contact with Milan, specifically with Ariedo Braida. I promised to contact him in case some other team had wanted to buy me ".

That knee in response to the baton Zvonimir, for the fans, "Zorro", had exactly the same masked hero courage of Johnston McCulley. He did not, however, covered his face, he let his blue eyes sparkled and showed him all the charisma of him. Without fear of judgment and without having to hide. That afternoon in Zagreb, any 20 year old would have run like hell, heedless of a situation too much bigger. Zvone not. His obstinacy to justice could not be set aside even in front of those thousands of delje, let alone in the country with him. He saw the police bludgeon your Croatian fans and he could not accept such a thing. The future AC Milan began to insult a policeman, who immediately struck him with truncheons, including also made him the guerrillas. Boban said with do not really Christian. A long run-up to slingshot towards the policeman and hit him with his foot. Jaw broken. A photographer immortalized the scene, which went down in history. The propaganda of both sides then did the rest. Leaving the field, he escorted to the locker room by fans and teammates, courage and moral integrity of him, which led him to take action against the injustice of the regime, were pushed aside to make room for fear. That gesture could amount to a death sentence in that period. He feared might happen to something bad. A few years later he commented that incident as well. " I reacted like a man. From the Christian point of view it was a mistake, but he hit me first. Jesus says to turn the other cheek if someone strikes you. He did not say, however, if someone hits you on both cheeks ".

Symbol for Croatia in the years ahead The gesture cost him banned for nine months, resulting farewell to the World Cup Italy '90. Zvodimir Boban became an idol for the Croatian people, a symbol of the rebellious resistance that gave beyond the end of the Yugoslav regime. A gesture that still remain, in a sense, marginal in front of the marvels accomplished on the football field with the Milan shirt and the Croatian national team, which will arrive to the semi-finals of France '98 the first participation. That talent and charisma that will then over time source of inspiration for many sports and many Croats, such as the global shipment of Russia 2018. Croatia has had to surrender only unbeatable France, coming to an unexpected ending. The player symbol of that team, Luka Modric, but it turned out the winner of the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA Best Player. During the award ceremony of the latter award in celebratory speech, the player of Real Madrid did not fail to remember how Boban was crucial for Croatia. " At a time like this I would like to dedicate a special thanks to my idol, Zvonimir Boban, the captain of Croatia in 1998 in France participated in the World Cup and came third. That team has given us hope to think that we could do something big in Russia. I hope that today's Croatian National may be the same for future generations ".

The Superhuman Zvone "Zorro" heard those words from the audience, bursting into a wonderfully desperate cry. Aware that he had written the political and sporting history of the country of him, with a courage out of the norm. The character thus edgy Boban many times put him against many people, but it is synonymous with a special intelligence. It allowed him to become a model for thousands and thousands of people.Zvonimir Boban, not a hero. Not a Martian, but a human. A superhuman.

Thanks to the pen of CasaBaggio .

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