Guille the Genius

Eighteen months ago I had a unique experience while taking a Hertz rental car bus for the seemingly endless miles from the rental car facility to my terminal at Denver International Airport. Several Brazilians were on the bus with me each curious about footballing setup here in the United States. They had known Romario and Zinho had played for Miami FC but I had to explain to them that was in fact a second division club. When I mentioned the players in MLS from Brazil I got stares and even some laughs.  When talking about Beckham and Blanco signing with MLS I got more laughs. “Those aren’t real footballers,” was one of the responses. Then I said ” well Schelotto signed today for an MLS club in Ohio.”

Suddenly the conversation changed. Guille, one of the Brazilians asked? I said, yes Guille.  “Why would he play HERE?”  I did not know until that moment what a legend Guille was in South America. Sure I knew all about his exploits with Boca Juniors. After all I live in South Florida where Boca is probably more popular than the local sporting teams other than the Miami Dolphins and College Football’s Miami Hurricanes. That’s how large our Argentine population is down here.

What I did not realize was the Schelotto’s exploits in Copa Libertadoras had made him one of the biggest names in South America. I was instantly told he was bigger and better than Beckham. “We see alot of Real Madrid in Brazil and Beckham is not a true footballer,” I was told. Now perhaps its a cultural bias because when I hear true footballer I see images of Bobby Moore, Kevin Keagan and Geoff Hurst, while the folks I was conversing with obviously did not see English players as true footballers. My orientation is such that I see Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and even Blanco as unsporting cheats while I think of someone like Teddy Sheringham, Paul Ince or Alan Shearer as the embodiement of a footballer.

However, the heads up those Brazilian tourists gave me about Schelotto was spot on. As one of the most decorated players in Argentine club history, his signing by MLS was far from automatic or logical like the signings of Beckham and Blanco. Unlike Blanco, clubs in Europe were interested in Schelotto, and unlike Beckham he had no personal affinity for the United States.

The signing has been massive. Schelotto is the best field player in MLS. He has essentially led a group of journeymen players and youth/developmental types to be clearly the best team in the league. At one point he had played a role in ten straight Columbus goals. Can you imagine that? Moreover his class on the ball and on set pieces is unrivaled in MLS since perhaps the retirement of Carlos Valderrama.

Schelotto’s success often times looks like that of a seasoned accomplished professional showing up a group recretational league players. After all the standard of MLS is nowhere near the standard of Argentine football but with signings like Guille, the future can only be bright for the Crew and MLS.

This entry was posted in Columbus Crew, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, MLS Talk. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
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3 Responses to Guille the Genius

  1. Phillip says:

    Schelotto has been fantastic for this league. Crew fans stole one there. 🙂

  2. bandeeto says:

    After watching Gille direct play like a true on field general I am most interested to see how long he will play in MLS, where he will go after, and will he be ready to coach?

    I can only hope that MLS puts as much effort into luring him to stay, as a coach, as they did getting him here in the first place.

  3. elopingcamel says:

    I agree with your thoughts bandeeto, but this guy has some years left in him yet. Let’s just try all we can to keep him playing here for as long as we can (all that talk of Jaime Moreno and Christian Gomez leaving to take a big payday in Dubai or wherever freaked me out). Surely he’ll want to be upgraded to DP status at some point and Columbus will show themselves as the biggest fools in history (slight exaggeration perhaps…) if they don’t give it to him.

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