the surveyor of the green rectangle and the man of taste – By Rédouane Taouil

“O maestro é o número seis”. It is this declaration of the fabulous golden shoe of the 20th century, the little Pelé, Eusebio, in a hotel in Guadalajara in June 1986, which offers the baptism of this legend of the round ball in Morocco.

The evocation of this nickname goes straight to the heart of the time of wonders and revives the lost memories of objects and places that awaken sensations and dreams of yesteryear: the charm of photographs of actions in football stadiums cut from newspapers and affixed with an almond-scented glue, far from the gaze of parents who can’t stand images replacing texts in school notebooks; the magic of the radio which, in the intimacy and the communion which it arouses, emits songs and words which open up the taste for rhymes and melodies, for grammar and tales; the shivering invitation to dream of distant shores from the posters pinned to the wall of Brel or Hendrix, whose black and white screen often diffuses the rhythms of his guitar and his teeth; the discovery of the glare of the eyes in the cinemas and the tremors of the matches in a high Casablanca in four colors of the RAC, the TAS, the WAC and the Raja and many other teams whose coaches, players and supporters ensure with dedication social welding in the cities.

By quoting the shirt number of the admired player, Eusebio did not imagine that he was going to point to a number that can no longer be considered outside of its referent: a maestro of the green rectangle, a fine passing surveyor and magician of dribbling and small bridges including memorable ones such as the famous goal of little Pelé following a corner kick he took himself. Although devoted midfielder, he uses, in defense as in attack, the same art and captivates the spectators all admirers. With an impressive talent, he even, at the start of his career, kept the goals and experienced the anguish and loneliness of the moment of the penalty. Like a conductor who unites various sounds in the same harmony, he made the hearts of supporters of the Reds and the Greens beat in unison. Undoubtedly, no player has shone in this regard with such brilliance. His performance in the national eleven against the Portugal national team at the 1986 World Cup made him a maestro without a wand. What a magnificent Wednesday: the whole country of the purple moon rejoiced during a sleepless night tinged with jubilation in tribute to Mexico’s exploit. The fires of the talented player still sparkle wonderfully during the match of the round of 16 against West Germany where he breaks with as much elegance as strength the assaults of the emblematic Rummenigge.

In “Le rouge et le noir” Stendhal draws the portrait of a character ardently eager for social ascent, Julien Sorel, who does not hesitate to put hypocrisy and cynicism at the service of his ambition. The glorious Maestro is the antithesis of this 19th century hero whose followers in contemporary colors are legion. Faithful to his social origins and to his city, he cultivates the values ​​of humility and dignity and remains attached to his tastes for the sublime, far from the spectacle of ugliness. A soul made of communion in the small joys of childhood and an education in sobriety and disdain for ostentation, he refuses to join clubs across the Mediterranean and to tear himself away from his beloved Morocco. . Follower of friendship as fraternity, his always warm embrace is an invitation to tender and comical laughter and subtle jokes, to the evocation of unforgettable films or favorite actors like the graceful and strange Faye Dunaway or the incarnation of anti -hero, Steve McQueen, or listening to the sobs of the trumpet or the saxophone, the soft sighs of the strings of the guitar, the lute or the sitar. He likes to share the lamentations of “My life is you” of the cantor of the Nile, the exhortations to be inspired by the flowers of Zakaria Ahmed, the lament to the sea of ​​Amin Hassanine, the celebration of joys on the banks of the love of Karem Mahmoud as much as the innumerable deep song of the eastern star. A lover of the seventies, he cherishes sharing his admiration for the fusion of blues and country of the Creedence Clearwater Revival or the rhythms produced by John Lee Hooker’s guitar and the bottle cap attached to his shoe or even the deep voice by Janis Joplin. With a benevolence constantly on standby, he refrains from addressing any subject likely to create disputes or misunderstandings, starting with football, as he rejects that sympathy is manifested by antipathy towards others. When he says, in a tone of confidence, that he appreciates the team that harvested cups from the throne in the 1960s, the KACM, he motivates him by the pleasure he has in wandering around Marrakech, his hometown from his family. Her discretion betrays less shyness than scrupulous respect for each person’s choice and the inexorable imprints of fate. His modesty, exemplary, is the opposite of the exhibitions of egos which participate in the stifling of the impulses of life by the overabundance of the futile and the inconsistent and the excess of the evanescent. To the question: why do you never talk about your life? José Luis Borges replies: “what do you want me to say about myself! I don’t know anything about myself, I don’t know the date of my death”. Through his paradoxical humor and his sense of derision, the Maestro would be a worthy descendant of this writer with a unique style. Resistant to the reigning brouhaha, which is an uninterrupted stream of superfluous, boring, obsequious or poisonous remarks, he takes a vow of silence, unwittingly adopting Wittgenstein’s sentence: “What we cannot talk about must be silenced”. When he happened to deliver impressions, presentiments or fragments of life, he honored the public school whose merits he did not fail to praise unjustly forgotten during exchanges on the state of education today. today. Remember his appearance on the French station’s Téléfoot program during the Mondial 86. Romantic in these times of merciless competition, he harbors an aversion as discreet as it is deep with regard to the tyranny of success. Wasn’t his team, Raja, nicknamed Boca Junior in the days of Father Jego, animated more by the offer of feasts to the eyes than by victory? “Success teaches nothing: it is as stupid as luck, as money, as shared love”. The Maestro seems to adhere to this maxim under which Jean-Marie Rouart places his praise of the vanquished in life. His presence in the world is based on distancing himself from vulgar reality. The pathological pursuit of interests in defiance of laws and rules is indeed exasperating. It converts quality into defect, vice into virtue, infraction into norm of behavior, imposture into posture of power, incompetence into advantage and reverse into place. The free rein of transgressive egoisms secretes destructive ambitions and rivalries of greed, obscures principles of conduct and creates ambiguity. In the absence of benchmarks that moderate appetites, the comparisons that each other makes of their positions and their mutual views deepen the fractures and damage society.

In short, the beautiful scores of the Maestro and his enchanting company, the delights of yesterday and the desolations of today undoubtedly call upon the nostalgic expression of memory. As Fernando Pessoa, compatriot of the famous Portuguese left winger, magician of the centers, Paolo Futre proclaims:

“With wounded nostalgia / my soul longs / Not for myself or the past that I see / But for the one who lives in me”.

What a saudade to think, with the bright sparks of memory helping, that the legend of the Maestro joins the aura of its baptizer, Eusebio, as well as the epic of the “angel with twisted legs”, Garincha. The time of wonder is round like a balloon and its melody is fatally dripping with sweetness.


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