The Commentary from Martellini to Caressa

The art of covering a game has changed fundamentally, as has football.

And we’re still 3 to 3. That dramatic game between Italy and Germany for a place in the final. Boninsegna skipped Schulz, Pass…Rivera…NETWORK! Rivera is still 4 to 3! 4 goals to 3 from Rivera! What a wonderful game, Italian listeners. We can’t thank our players enough for these emotions they offer us. Check out Rivera, the feint that throws Maier off balance. Rivera scored 4 to 3 for Italy. And we’re in the sixth minute of the second overtime. 4 to 3 for Italy.

With these simple words said the best Italian football commentator of all time, sir Nando Martellinidescribed Gianni Rivera’s historic goal that enabled the national team to beat West Germany in the “Partido del siglo”, the game of the century, at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. It remained the most important semi-final in Italian football history until 2006, when the Azzurri reached the final again with (almost) the same teams on the field (in Germany there was no longer a distinction between East and West) and this time became champions. But let’s go back to 1970.

What was one of the goals that will be remembered most by Belpaese football fans? it was told without being described. The kick was slower and more formal. The action of the goal from 4 to 3, which begins with the kick-off struck by Domenghini and De Sisti, lasts 20 minutes. Aside from the first touch, there are only five passages (De Sisti – Rivera, Rivera – De Sisti, De Sisti – Facchetti, Facchetti – Boninsegna, Boninsegna – Rivera) that run in virtual slow motion Martellini begins to tell… about the last one!

“Boninsegna skipped…Schulz (a moment’s hesitation to recognize the German No. 5), pass…Rivera…NETWORK!”

A story unimaginable today

Without the images, it would be impossible to understand what is happening, and at this point (try looking at any game available today on youtubebelieve) All games were roughly not describedThe actions were commented on almost exclusively by repeating the names of the players holding the ball. And we remember that the game was very slow. No, Martellini and his collaborators were not in danger of losing their voice!

Yes, because in those years The football commentator was very different from the current one. At first there was only one (now there is the main reporter, accompanied by the technical commentator, plus two/three from the sidelines, coordinated by the studio one(s); Second, it had to respond to different needs than the entertainment industry needs today.

A Caressa/Bergomi duo cannot afford to only name the players who touch the ball, they have to Tell the game in a way that makes the viewer feel involved as far as possible and can justify the payment of the RAI license fee or the (expensive) pay-tv subscription to itself. The 21st century commentator has to be creative. Let’s think about all the terminology that has now entered the common lexicon of sports bars: saber (gentle, tense, distressed, classic), door, wild bunch, the cursed (Pirlo penalty), not to mention the English ones: coast to coast, hat trick, don’t look, top player etc.

Staying with the Caressa/Bergomi duo (often accused of factionalism, among other things), let’s try to compare Nando Martellini’s commentary with the more modern commentary on a similar game, the one mentioned above Semi-final in Dortmund between Italy and Germany in 2006. Here’s how the duo commented on Alessandro Del Piero’s last 2-0 goal:

“C: The ball arrives, Cànnavaro knocks it out (with an angry accent on the first syllable, which he’ll repeat right after) then Podolski Cànnavaro insists again (again the stressed syllable), CAAAAAANNAVAROOOOO WITH TOTTI FROM THE COUNTERFEET (the vein closes), IN THE BALL FOR GILARDINO… GILARDINO CAN ALSO HOLD IT NEAR THE FLAG… LOOK FOR ONE ON ONE… GILARDINO, IN DEL PIERO, DEL PIEROOOO! GOOOOOOOOOOOL!!! (the vein closes permanently) AEEEEEEEEEX DEL PIEROOOOOOOOOOO!!! CLOSE YOUR BAGS, LET’S GO TO BERLIN! Let’s go to Berlin! Let’s get the cup! Let’s go to Berlin!

B: a show, a show… they all went on, destroyed… we started great again! Del Piero scored a goal… he so missed it in the final against France in 2000… he didn’t miss it here, he made it! (A still staid Bergomi tries to keep her composure.)


B: WE ARE GOING TO BERLIN! (Here, however, the former Inter player suddenly and inexplicably goes insane and raises his voice four or five notes, perhaps because his snacking pal grabbed his testicles?)

C: Let’s go to Berlin, Beppe!!!

Caressa ended this exciting minute with the historical sentence that maybe Georgy Konstantinovich too Zhukov He addressed Joseph Stalin on November 15, 1944, when the Marshal of the Soviet Union received the order for the final operation the conquest of Berlin.

This is how the “myth” of Fabio Caressa began

But I also think the rush of adrenaline that characterized those minutes, that game, that triumphant World Cup was overdone. For the “older” people it will come to mind how Martelliniafter the Madrid final in 1982 (Germany again!), in which he uttered the historic phrase “WELTMEISTER” three times with an unfamiliar and unusual intonation for him, Nearly He apologized ashamedand stated that he kept the cry of losing the 1970 World Cup in his throat. Different men, different times.

Football today is a business that can’t even be compared to what it was 40, 50 years ago and everything related to it has to adapt. The sports shows, the TV presenters, the players off the field. Everything is artfully designed to provide the fan consumer with an appetizing, enjoyable and purchasable product. Even this sport has adapted to what Guy Debord tells admirably in his work The entertainment company (“The show is not a collection of images, but a social relationship between individuals mediated by images”), but an examination of football show business from the work of the French philosopher deserves a separate discussion.

Staying on the subject discussed here, one certainly cannot believe that the commentators have never changed, that the match reports have stayed the same as in the 70’s. Football has changed and with it its history. But let me at least say that the interpreters of this new narrative aren’t always the best possible.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *