From the Archives: Rx for World Cup Withdrawal

By Susan Harris

If the end of the World Cup has left you, in the words of Mexico's Álvaro Enrigue, "socceristically disoriented," we prescribe Enrigue's elegiac "Readymade" from our June 2006 issue. This memoir of Mexico's hapless Club de Fútbol Pachuca and its Alfonso "the Fool" Madrigal entwines soccer, loss, and youth. As a child, the soccer-mad narrator worships a neighbor's framed Pele jersey and photo, practices the Brazilian star's autograph, and cheers  the drunken, clownish Madrigal.  Adored by his people, the blithely alcoholic Madrigal—"apt to score unbelievable goals whenever he was able to keep his balance"—brings Pachuca to its first finals; his most legendary move, executed in "a flash of inspiration, doubtlessly alcoholic in origin," rivals Maradona. Yet no records seem to have been kept of Madrigal's goals, and he appears in no histories of the sport; the Argentine soccer star whose wall holds the Pele jersey and photograph dies of cancer;  another South American soccer star misses a penalty kick and flees in disgrace. The clock ticks down and runs out, ending "those years when the world was perfect."


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