The Guardian’s Classic YouTube feature had a real gem in it today: an animated version of Gareth Bale’s deliciously jaw-dropping slaying of Inter Milan in the Champions League group stages.
Could this be the next tele-visual upgrade for football fans? First we had football in HD, then we had 3D – perhaps it’s now time for animation. Forget pixels, its all about 1080 brushstrokes.
An inspired OTP has popped on its beret and glued on pretentiously sculptured facial hair in a bid to offer up a cultured critique of the aesthetically pleasing clip. Truly, liquid football.
Pablo Picasso, Neil Buchannan step aside – here are our 5 observations:
1. The only player to have any detail in face or body is Bale himself. Just like the real games, his panther-in-slippers-like pace reduced everyone to mere blurs. Most appropriately, the normally imposing Maicon is reduced to a wispy stick man with no discernible ability to co-ordinate his directionless limbs.
Along with no facial detail, any pitch markings are fleeting if not absent – perhaps a nod to Bale’s inability to be hemmed in by anything in those matches… or a subliminal message to FIFA that no touchlines = sumptuous football and reduced groundsmen expenses.
2. 1 min 25 secs – Has a spannered Peter Crouch volley ever looked as beautiful as this? In a clip of pure poise and composure, the video is punctured by Crouchy’s spooning of an inch-perfect ball – plucked from Bale’s rich palette of crosses. A mortal error that illuminates Bale’s seeming invincibility on the day. The animation allows the striker’s comical cock-up to transcend into the truly spiritual. And I’m fairly certain that’s not the norm at White Hart Lane.
3. 1 min 38 secs – All is forgiven. Crouch – showing great composure and vision – taps the ball in from 30cms after another luxuriously brushed ball from Bale. Most pleasingly, check out Crouch’s electric bright white teeth: an artificial effect done at a significantly cheaper price than the big man’s real-life dentist.
4. The music, which is free to download on the YouTube link, is a perfect reflection of the unfolding action: seemingly effortless, fluid and flirting with the realms of epic. Odd then to have such audio-purity embellished with commentary from Martin Tyler and a certain Andy Gray. It’s a bit like buying an Italian tailored suit and happily spreading the inner-silk-lining with something the neighbour’s dog left you on your porch.
5. 0.31 seconds – For those with very beady-eyes, you’ll notice the words ‘This frame is by Isobel.’ Presumably creator Richard Sawbrick allowing a loved one to get involved. A self-congratulatory OTP is awarding itself a Spotter’s Badge for that one!
All-in-all, it’s a fine piece of work indeed and when it comes to mixing art and football – it’s a significantly more elegant attempt than keeper Stephen Bywater’s ‘masterpiece’ back in September.