Home sport Igli Tare and the football prodigy that he once was

Igli Tare and the football prodigy that he once was

Igli Tare and the football prodigy that he once was
Carmelo Pennisi

Carmelo Pennisi columnist

February 29, 2024 (Edited February 29, 2024 | 10:01 p.m.)

The date is back with Carmelo Pennisi's “Loquor” column: “Igli Tare was a fugitive, a refugee, an exile, one pair of shoes, a gardener, but his destiny was always there, on the playing field. . . .”

One wrote how “no revolution can truly be achieved without a symbolic conquest through which the myth can enter.” Moreover, we need an old and new world with which people can compare themselves and see the necessary differences in them in order to guide themselves in decisions. In a football that is rapidly changing, where owners and television are frantically searching for new revenues, it is difficult to find traces of the sacred and the myths, the stories to perpetuate them into the future which in turn must assume other futures. There is no compelling story, something linking contemporary events to the hitherto known history of football. The feeling is to “consume” rather than experience the events of the world's most followed sport, which is now devoid of any expectations given the way the match plays out every day, fooling oneself into believing that something is really at stake. The desire to try to seize the seat of glory is the only luxury left at everyone's disposal, the only link to a reality that is now devoid of any need for the sacred. That's why loss is more unacceptable than it was in the past, and a story that makes us feel good for even a moment is no longer enough. Torino great Gigi Merone is an archetype of away football that now appears to be dead. We don't know how to replace them. Even Manchester United have been unable to replace George Best and Bobby Charlton, and the intense passion for Arsenal of Keir Starmer, the Labor leader and seen by many as the next tenant of No. 10 Downing Street, is not enough to revitalize Arsenal through the media legend of football's story.

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Too much money and too much accessibility to the event made it more like a weather forecast, something that could be seen with the left eye while the right eye was dozing off from the fatigue of a day that had just passed. However, there are still some stories to tell, if we know how to look, to revitalize football as a metaphor for life; Striking, for example, is the personal story of Igli Tare, who was determined to become a footballer in Europe while the ferocious communist regime led by Enver Hoxha was disastrously collapsing with the “Berlin Wall”: “By agreement with my father, I fled Albania to reach Germany and thus try to have a different future as a footballer. The Czech Republic was the closest to the German border, and when I got there I sought contact with the Czech underworld for which I secured entry to Germany with a sum of money.” “Mali. I remember the snow, I remember how cold it was when we stayed in the forest waiting for someone to come. Anything could have happened, even death, but it went well.”. Hence the story of the former football player and now sporting director becomes the reason why someone would think of inventing football. It is a sport closely linked to the concept of “resurrection”, the hope of a young man who has just arrived in a foreign land without even the money to buy a pair of running shoes and is therefore forced to run along the river, to maintain his fitness, in the shoes with which he crossed the border illegally: “People were looking at me strangely because of those shoes. But I told myself I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I was just trying to run.”. The future striker of Brescia, Bologna and Lazio finds a contract with a Serie C club after managing to convince his coach to let him go on a trial. Money is tight, almost nothing, but it marks the beginning of his return to football after fleeing Albania and the opportunity to seek political asylum.

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Not bad, the coach got him a job as a gardener to get through and he hopes to one day fulfill the dream he has inside of you. “I couldn't disappoint my father – Tari says -I had to stick to paying them everything. “I was afraid, but I always believed in fate and in my ability to seize opportunities if they came to me.”. It is the film and Providence of the story of Igli Tare, who partly walked on the legs of the manager of the various nightclubs frequented by Karlsruhe's managers, and who impressed the young Albanian refugee by having him audition for the club and then be coached by coaching legend Winfried Schäfer. Football in the 1990s was still a football of possibilities, grounded in a tradition unaffected by the shock of the Bosman ruling, which from the turn of the new millennium would hand the fate of world football to prosecutors and enormous debts. It was a world without excessive filters blocking the way, and by knocking on the club's door, it could even be opened to you. “My story was a fairy tale that would never happen – Tari says today –When Onazi, as Lazio's sporting director, offered me a priest, I thought I had to return the favour. The boy was rejected by eight teams in Europe and came from a very difficult African background. I saw my story in him again and after the test I decided to make him sign the contract with Lazio. “He deserved it, in fact he had a good career.”. Yes, because the audition with Karlsruhe went well, after an annoying taunt from Thomas Hassler who invited Schäfer to audition for his neighbor as well (he later changed his mind). The Albanian striker seems to be strong and happy in Germany, also because he fulfilled his dream as a teenager; It is the feeling felt in the pages of Herman Melville's “Moby-Dick,” where the man finds himself almost lost and angry in the face of the dilemma of the unknown, but aware of the possibility of salvation at any moment. But the dream is the Italian League, because every self-respecting Albanian carries our country in his heart and honors its language by learning it.

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For them, Italy is the Neverland off their coast, the America our immigrants dreamed of for almost the entire twentieth century. The player from Tirana feels old, and at that moment our league is still considered the best and richest in the world. Tari confesses to his wife how the Italian dream will still be a dream in reality. “There's nothing owed to us, but you'll have your chance.” It's a great line from a recent movie (“Father Stu”), and football was once the product of the idea that every wall could be torn down, and every resurrection could be within reach. A week after announcing his surrender, Tarri was surprisingly bought by Brescia and found himself under the watchful eye of Paolo Maldini, a true legend of world football, at the San Siro Park. This occasion has come and is also an explosion of joy and pride for all the Albanian community present in Italy: “After my debut in the Italian League, I remember the moments I spent with the Albanians very well. Everywhere I went on the street, they would come out of shops and restaurants and want to kiss my hand because they were so happy that one of their compatriots was finally able to represent them in the league.” “The best way possible. I was no longer a simple player, I represented my country and I wanted to do it in the best way because I knew that in this way I would help my people.”. What football was, what a kind of indulgence it was of the heart and soul, and to lose it in its original essence is a wound with bitter and unexpected consequences. You hear him speak, see his eyes sparkling with the sky, and you understand how this son of a former Albanian army officer, known in the “Land of Eagles,” spends almost every moment thanking fate as if he felt he had done it. A debt with a fate that can practically not be extinguished. “I see my story as a motivation for many young people, and a call to not see anything in life as a defeat. You must have the desire and desire to never give up because everything can be achieved, and everything can be done better.”: Igli Tare was a fugitive, a refugee, an exile, one pair of shoes, a gardener, but his fate was always there, on the field. His story would have made someone like Albert Camus crazy with joy, and I would like to dedicate it to all teenagers in the world: Do not be afraid of the mountains, because even if they hide the stars they are always there. We just have to take them.

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Writer, screenwriter and director. A big fan of the Granata and actually co-authored with the late Anthony Weatherill the Toro News “Loquor” column which he continues to edit in his honor and memory. Among his many works and screenplays, he includes the film “Now and Forever” in memory of Grande Torino.

Disclaimer: Commenters hosted by Toro News express their thoughts independently of the editorial line of the online newspaper's editorial team, which has always made pluralism and the free exchange of opinions its hallmark.

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