Farewell Guti, One of My HerosBy: Corey | May 17th, 2010
For his entire life, Guti has been playing for Real Madrid. He joined the academy in 1984 and a little over ten years later made his first team debut against Sevilla in 1995. Ever since then, he has changed positions, hair styles, tastes in women (and men some may say) and tattoos. But he has never changed clubs, and has always been a proud, if sometimes frustrating servant of the club. All that is going to change, as this was his last season with Real. At 33, his physical condition may not suit the Real Madrid first team anymore (as his unwillingness to train can testify), but his skill on the ball and passing and vision still had a great impact on the game whenever he played. I cant even pinpoint the exact game it was when I became a devout fan of Guti. I think it was my first season as a Real fan, the 2000-2001 season, where Guti became a secondary striker in place of Morientes. He scored 14 goals that year, but he had had double the assists because of how close he operated to the penalty area.
He played 385 official games for Real, scoring 45 goals from a whole host of positions. He played every spot in midfield as well as striker, in a very dynamic career. Never a guaranteed starter even down to his final days with the team, he never the less was always relied on to rally Real late in games from the bench, or provide leadership on the field from the start as the second captain behind Raul. Guti, be the divisive figure he was, only made 14 appearances for Spain, most coming early in his career, after he had won the u-21 Championship with Spain in 1998. Its amazing that despite his obvious talents, he was often preferred to other players, or with coaches recognizing his attributes, stuck in awkward central midfield roles where he was to far from the box to contribute. Id like to say he never complained about all the positional changes, falling out with coaches etc., but he did complain, frequently, and was not one to shy away from the odd soundbite or two. I guess it was more to add to the myth of the man, but it also seemed to constantly hamper his standing with the team and in the game of football.
He was never far from controversy (he got booked on the bench this past weekend, and he got in to a tiff with Chendo right after receiving the card) and always a man who splits hairs and opinions of fans, pundits, teammates and coaches alike. Many a player and coach have referred to him as one of the most technically gifted and visionary players they have ever seen. But the fans and pundits, while begrudgingly admitting to just those boasts of his talents, were also ready to play up his ‘morbo’, which may be even more divisive and alienating then most players strong wills. Guti has a love-hate relationships with most of his coaches, all of the fans and pundits and even himself. As Phil Ball said in reference to his retirement from Real (in the context of Cesc Fabregas moving to Real this summer):
On the other hand, he (Cesc) is exactly the player that Real Madrid need, given the disappointing performances of Kaka. A more perceptive player in that upper-midfield position, one who can slow the play down or speed it up given the occasion, is exactly what Madrid have lacked. Xabi Alonso has probably been their most consistent player this campaign, but he needs more support, more options directly in front of him. Guti is packing his bags. We may never see his like again – and he actually managed to get himself booked before he even came on for his final game – but as Joni Mitchell once wrote, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
I think that about sums it up. I have always praised him when I could, and respected and admired his playing style. I often tried to play like he did on the field, looking for the killer pass more then anything else. I was okay, still am. But Guti was exceptional. And unfortunately we will never get to see that in white. The good, the bad and more bad and the absurdity that was Guti’s career. You wont see another one quite like him, not in this modern age of football….
Enjoy some fan created highlight videos below, and shed a tear or two.
‘The Taconazo’ de Guti Part I
‘The Taconazo’ de Guti Part II
Thank you Guti. HALA MADRID y HALA GUTI!