Is October 29, 2005, AC Milan and FC Juventus are playing a match at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy.
At 45' minute, when the result is already 2-0 for AC Milan, there is a free kick for the Rossoneri.
As goalkeeper, for Juventus, there is Antonio Chimenti...not Buffon and not even Abbiati, his substitute. Both are injured.
And so, Andrea Pirlo places the ball with care, the distance is prohibitive, the position is decentralized to the goal, the angle is very narrow.
In commentary for Sky, there is Fabio Caressa, who follows the course of operations, and seems convinced of the fact that the player will cross the ball into the middle of the box.
But when the ball kicked by Pirlo leaves the ground, the speaker immediately realizes that it took a strange effect, almost as if it had been loaded and pulled with a slingshot.
The ball, rising, overcomes the barrier and then, suddenly, points straight down, never losing its speed.
Chimenti follows the trajectory, but that sudden change of effect make him a bad joke and he has a moment of hesitation. He is about to move to his right, when he realizes that instead the ball is coming like a meteorite on the opposite side.
He steps in reverse, changes direction, but goes down with an instant of delay.
He only is able to touch, but can not make other that see the ball slip into the net, between the post and his body.
Fabio Caressa goes crazy and, in a moment of big enthusiasm, creates a definition to identify that kind of unpredictable free kick...insidious and that often makes a fool to the goalkeeper who suffers it.
So, the "Maledetta" was born.
This way of kicking will remain a trademark of Andrea Pirlo throughout his career.
How many times we, football fans, have seen wonderful trajectories invented by the playmaker from Brescia?
In the clubs and in National Italian team, he has often delighted us with masterpieces and, beyond the team supported, I believe that no one can discuss his crystalline class.
But it must also be said that Pirlo explained in his biography that he had not invented that way of kicking the ball.
He was inspired by Juninho Pernambucano, a great Brazilian player who was able to score from any position, in any way, inventing trajectories on the limit of the principles of physics.
To those of you who do not know him, I recommend going to watch some videos of his free kicks and I assure you that you will be left speechless.
And Pirlo was fascinated, obsessed with that way of kicking.
So, he decide that wanted to understand what technique Juninho used and began to study the movements and the way of impacting the ball.
At the end of the training, he tried in every way to replicate the execution of that type of shoot, but with failing results, so much that he tells about assistants who snorted when they saw him about to try free kicks, because obliged to go and gather everywhere, balls that took the most disparate directions.
But then, all of a sudden, something changed...Pirlo understood what was wrong and what he had to do to get the result he was looking for.
And since, like most of the quiet people, Andrea has instead a very ironic nature, I let you read this hilarious passage of his book "Penso quindi Gioco"("I think then I play"), in which he tells his discovery:
"I did experiments for weeks, but the right inspiration came while I was shitting. Inzaghi says that the maximum concentration is reached in those moments: this is not romantic but it went exactly like that. The magic that I was pursuing did not depend on the point where I hit the ball, but on how: Juninho did not take it with all his foot, but with only three fingers. The day after I went very soon to Milanello and without removing even the moccasins I started to try. It was immediately a perfect shot, near the post. Finally I had beaten the ghost of Juninho.
The ball had to be kicked from underneath, using the first three toes. And the foot had to be kept as straight as possible and then released with a snap. In that way the ball remained steady in the air and, at a certain point, quickly descended towards the goal, turning with the effect. Without knowing it, here it is, the "Maledetta", as someone would later renamed that type of shooting. When I succeed, there is no barrier to hold, because it is a kick studied specifically to pass over the opposing players, before taking a direction that can not be foreseen. Is better if you are farther away from the goal, because the distance is directly proportional to the effect you are able to impress. "
When the champions explain their secrets with disarming simplicity, we are always bewitched by talent and genius they demonstrate.
But at the base of all this technique, there is, as often happens in sport, a scientific principle.
In summary, Pirlo and Juninho had done nothing but experiment and put into practice the Magnus effect, a physical principle for which a rotating object drags on with it a few layers of fuid (in this case, air) that are closely in contact with it.
The body and the fluid create turbulences that can change the direction, the curve and the speed depending on what are the strength ratios.
In addition, if the object that is rotating, also performs a translational action, we will have an increase in the speed of the body in movement.
Exactly what happened when Pirlo beat the free kick we were talking about at the beginning of the post.
Also other players, specialists in rhis skill, like Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos and Cristiano Ronaldo, have used this technique of shoot in many occasions, probably unaware to put into practice a physical concept, but absolutely able to achieve the result of unpredictability.
Airflows, if very variable, make the trajectory of the ball unstable, especially if kicked with the intention to give it a rotation, both forward or lateral.
We can find other examples of Magnus effect in tennis and ping pong, where the players try to use impact and effect shots, such as topspin and backspin, to exploit the principles of this physical law (Rafa Nadal , for example, is a great lover of this kind of blows).
And, to conclude, even in motor racing, where the concepts of lift and downforce are applied in aerodynamics.
This post is the translation from IT of my original work published on Steemit in my page.
You can find it HERE
Thank you for reading, I hope you liked it!
See you soon!