I couldnt find a thread about our chinaman so i have opened this one cause i found a very very interesting article in goal.com forums about Recoba.
Player Profile: Alvaro 'El Chino' Recoba
12/8/2004 1:23:00 PM
Recoba has long been branded ‘inconsistent,’ a tag which has dogged his career and one which is undeserved, according to Faisal Hassan. Faisal is a firm believer in Recoba’s ability. Indeed, he told Goal.com: ''If there is anything more freakish than Recoba's rare talents, it is the way those talents have been wasted [by his employers].”
Nicknamed ’El Chino’ (The Chinaman) because of his Oriental features, Recoba possesses such talent in his left foot that its easy to believe he is an alien.
Recoba burst on the football scene as a 16-year-old in 1993 for Montevideo side Danubio. Over the next four years he scored 62 goals in 58 games, moved to Uruguayan giant Nacional and then to Inter for US$4.5 million.
Making his debut the same day as Brazilian superstar Ronaldo, it was the little known Uruguayan who stole the headlines, grabbing two wonder strikes from 40 and 30 yards in 20 minutes to help Inter beat Brescia 2-1. It was to go down as the greatest debut in SerieA history
This started a trend and Recoba was always expected to save Inter by coming off the bench. If he didn’t he was called ’inconsistent’ by the famously fickle Nerazzuri faithful. His chances were few and far between so in the second half of the 98/99 season Inter decided to loan a young Chino to a doomed Venezia team in the relegation zone. Recoba single-handedly saved them from relegation moving them up into mid-table with a hand in 20 of Venezia’s 22 goals (11 goals, 9 assists) in that period. He was named player of the season and won plaudits from all around Europe, but unfortunately for the football world Inter still owned his contract.
So he moved back into blue and black and it was the same old story until Ronaldo’s and other injuries helped Recoba’s cause. Because he had impressed so much in the 1999/2000 (10 goals 18 assists) he was offered the highest paid contract in world football at that time. Things seemed to be going great until the injuries came and a passport scandal that eventually led to his being banned from playing for 4 months.
It was in Inter’s Cuper era that Recoba’s genius was most greatly misused. The Argentine tactician played Recoba as a left midfielder and expected him to defend, as a team lacking ideas was taught to hit long balls to bulldozer striker Christian Vieri. Recoba was isolated and bashed for not knowing how to tackle and lack of work-rate whilst expected to save the day by taking teams apart without much attacking options (though he still managed to do this on more than a few occasions). Injuries and long lay-offs came the following season and Recoba was made to be scapegoat for the team’s Champions League exit despite being extremely out of shape due to
lack of match fitness.
This sealed the “inconsistent” tag, which stuck for the fans - but Recoba’s inconsistency remains one of the biggest myths in modern football.
Let’s take a look at the statistics...
- Last season under the first coach since his Venezia days to let him be free (Zaccheroni) Recoba had the best goal per minute ratio out of any Inter player after missing the first part of the season to injury.
- Recoba has played only 124 league games in an Inter shirt in 8 years and despite this extremely low number of appearances (let alone starts) he has scored over 50 goals and made countless assists.
- His total career stats are even more impressive, in 269 career games Recoba has scored 135 goals, Yes Alvaro Recoba!
Per game he is one of the most consistent fantasy type forwards in Europe, but he doesn’t have the hundreds of games other lesser, more-hyped talents do. So people automatically assume when he wins a match that he has been useless for the times he hasn’t hit the headlines - when he in fact hasn’t really been used much before then. If he has a poor game it’s because he is ‘inconsistent Recoba’; but if a Totti or a Zidane has an invisible game people will soon erase it from their memory because of the many, many match opportunities their talents will have to balance things out.
It’s not long until Recoba is 29 and his best has probably passed, but I will remember him as one of the greatest talents in the history of the game. I believe the likes of Baggio and Zidane didn’t have anything on El Chino and wouldn’t do half as well in his shoes; but most will just go with the myth of his ’great inconsistency’