“Life is a game of centimeters. And so is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin of error is so small. Understand this: half a step made a little ‘in advance or a bit late and you can not make it, half a second too fast or too slow and not quite catch it. ”

The centimeters however, though each handles them a bit as they like. Some do it like Bonucci, who uses his size and his positional sense, to take almost all. There are those who like Chiellini, who has monstrous strength and reactivity and retrieve desperate balls. And there are those, however, is a bit older and those centimeters evoked by Al Pacino can not just let himself miss a single one. People like Barzagli and as Evra, old school which, fortunately, not only watching the ball always throw an eye to the opponent. And this is how the French, at the Bernabeu, he cut the best performance of the season in a continuous crescendo.

’72 Minute. Ronaldo cross from the left, the ball is too high for the poor Evra may be able to deflect it. Bale, who from his as many as 10 centimeters more than the Juventus full-back, has the additional benefit of arriving running and to be able to make the third time: he can reach that ball. But the French looks at the opponent with one eye, moves to come between him and the goal line and jumps. Put simply (it seems almost blasphemous in modern football) he marks him. And Bale jumps high, takes the damn ball, but is situated in the middle of a disturbance- and what a disturbance – which prevents him from hitting at his best. And the ball goes high. If Evra had considered only the trajectory of the ball, he would have been cut off and the goal would have been almost inevitable.


Is this a coincidence? Minute No. 31, corner kick from the left of the attack of the Real, Benzema jumps very high, much higher than Evra, who has the task to mark him. But French is there, attached like a leech to the opponent. You know, according to the ancient laws nearly forget of football, that is more important to keep the marking that taking the ball. Because if you are attacked and contrasts, it’s up to the opponent to make a miracle to score. So Benzema, who is not free to strike the best, sent a long ball slow slow in the hands of Buffon in a plastic version.

Throughout the game, Evra has made an impressive number of diagonals. There is no specific treatment available, but is indicative of another indicator: the ground “trampled” by the French, who, like seen from the image (and by the red arrow) takes up much more frequently the center than the marathoner Lichtsteiner.

And even when he arrived late, he was able to use his skills. 73rd minute, again a cross from the left, Hernandez is in front of the French, Evra pushes him slightly. But he has the foresight, that few young players have, to stop that action before the ball gets to the center of the area. The referee, which naturally follows the trajectory of the ball, can not see anything but the Mexican on the ground. When Boskov said “penalty is when the referee whistles,” said a solemn truth. But who needs a corollary: make us smile those who claim the replays after a not given penalty; not because the slow motion in field is a wrong notion in itself (the topic is too complex to be solved here), but because a good defender acts knowing that the slow motion in the field is not there. It will adjust accordingly. In still-image is not clear, but the ball is passing directly over the head of Evra: at that moment, which is the same time as the referee looks in that direction, while Hernandez is on the ground, the French is falling and between their bodies there is now more contact.

Evra’s performances, always growing during the season, are regularly brightest during the evenings of Champions League. The reason is obvious: the French is not giving a great contribution in offensive terms to this Juventus; on the contrary, in defense he is impeccable. And in the Champions League, given the increased average quality of the opponents, for long periods it happens, as it never happens in the league, in which Juventus is forced to defend. In 9 appearances and 809′ minutes played, Evra has made only 16 fouls (one every 50′) and did not take even a yellow card (sign of precision, then concentration). On the contrary, given even his 34 years, he is only 43rd in the ranking of marathoners of Champions League (considering that Juventus has as many as 6 players in the top 10). A “Tactical” fullback, then, that even against Real, got rid of 6 balls from critical areas of defense, second only to Chiellini from Juventus. Basically, the only one who really put in difficulty Evra, Wednesday night, it was that ball boy.

By the way, Happy Birthday Patrice.

adapted an article by Giulio Gori in collaboration with Giacomo Scutiero @ juventibus.com