Marco Asensio missed Real Madrid’s Champions League match on Wednesday night after picking up an injury due to shaving his legs.
When Sir Alex Ferguson famously exclaimed “Football, eh? Bloody hell” this was not exactly what he had in mind.
Manchester United’s Dark Knight came from an era when proper football men were proper football men, when the only shaving a player did was of his manly, glaring face, or possibly the side-wing of his car on the gatepost of the Red Lion after a Tuesday unwinding session in the interests of team-bonding. Shapely, smooth legs were the preserve of Page Three stunnas, not your outside left.
Today’s injuries, like everything in football, seem that bit less relatable
The boy Asensio, highly rated at Real Madrid – for his football, if not his brains – missed training this week because, or so his manager Zinedine Zidane told the press, he “had a pimple on his leg.” Thanks, gaffer.
The pimple was a massive setback, obviously, but the lad bowed to work hard, get stuck in, put this behind him and keep getting in the right areas i.e. a really comfy chair in the beauty salon.
Despite the best efforts of medics, the player then got the news that every young man dreads: he had picked up an infection while shaving his legs. Whether Asensio can come back from this devastating blow is now in the lap of the football gods. One assumes there will be a minute’s silence ahead of Real Madrid’s next home game, and that the football family will come together at this difficult time for Marco.
This devastating depilatory setback is made all the more painfully ironic by the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Real Madrid squad. No single player has done for the concept of male-grooming than the manscaper from Madeira. Where is he in all this?
The preposterous Portuguese is regarded not just as an on-pitch leader but as a role model by the younger players: his national team colleague Cedric, the Southampton full-back, told me how any word from Ronaldo is hung upon and revered by the dressing room.
It makes it all the more tragic that Asensio felt unable to ask the great man for tips on waxing, the correct use of the razor, or what type of moisturiser to put on his legs. FIFA must surely act now before any more young talents are lost to the menace of the pimple. Ignorance of the proper grooming procedures or how to deal with a pimple is an avoidable tragedy. It is time for Football to Squeeze It Out.
Footballers, though, will always get themselves in a pickle somehow or other. The lethal combination of stupidity and having a lot of time on your hands has seen many a brave young sportsman forced into a humiliating spell on the sidelines. Incidentally, it is almost always men: for every Kim Clijsters having to withdraw from the 2011 French Open after doing too much on the dancefloor at a family wedding, there are a dozen or more David Seamans laid low after straining themselves reaching for the remote. Is it perhaps that the highly tuned machine is more sensitive to damage? Is it just that they are idiots? Science is working on the answer.
In the meantime Asensio takes his place in the pantheon of in-pain plonkers. alongside Rio Ferdinand straining a knee tendon in a marathon PlayStation session, noted Leeds hardman David Batty having his ankle run over by his daughter’s tricycle, and Dave Beasant’s bottle of salad cream getting the better of Dave Beasant’s foot.
At least these were injuries that could have happened to the regular bloke, though. Today’s injuries, like everything in football, seem that bit less relatable. The sight of footballers arriving for matches with those giant headphones clamped over their ears, clutching those posey little washbags, is enough to set many an older fan to grinding his or her teeth.
But spare a thought next time you see a 19-year-old millionaire holding a £700 Luis Vuitton vanity purse: a potentially devastating infected Epilady may lurk within.