Sunday, March 29, 2020
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After scoring a goal, the way in which a player expresses their jubilation says a lot. Africans often demonstrate their athleticism by doing a procession of flips, Alan Shearer’s consistency was mirrored by the perennial palm aloft, and the more morose of souls, such Dimitar Berbatov and Nic Anelka, seem to give scant regard to their feat.   

 

Goal celebrations can become iconic, such as Jurgen Klinsmann hurling himself head long across the pitch in response to accusations of diving. Romario and Bebeto’s baby cradle is symbolic of Brazil lifting the 1994 World Cup, and Peter Crouch’s robot dance perhaps illustrates England’s disjointed performances under Sven Goran Eriksson.  

 

An over zealous celebration, however, is likely to land you in hot water. Sprinting off to fraternize with the crowd or taking your shirt off is a mandatory bookable offense by kill joy officials. In more extreme cases, overtly controversial celebrations can result in fines or even suspensions such as Robbie Fowler’s sniffing the touchline, Paolo Di Canio’s fascist salute and, more recently, David Norris’s handcuff gesture. 

 

There is one celebration, however, that is particularly paltry. That is the thumb suck. Luis Garcia was the first to bring it to these shores; but it has since been adopted by his compatriot Fernando Torres and Man city new-boy, Robinho, is always at it. It’s a ridiculous scene. A man - a professional athlete - imitating a child in front of a partisan crowd of sports fans.  

 

As well as this it seems as though the symbolism behind revelry has got confused along the way. Whereas the originators, Francesco Totti and Luis Garcia, popped their digit into their mouth in tribute to their children, the newcomers, Torres and Robinho, are both as yet childless. Whether they are giving their backing to Theo Walcott’s assertion that breast-milk made him the player he is today, or whether they are implying that their goal scoring feats are child’s play, is as yet unknown. Either way they should stop it. It’s a disgusting habit.     

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