68 Will Brooklyn Beckham be a foo
Brooklyn Beckham is the latest in a long line of celebrity babies - how will he fare?
I read somewhere that Ladbrokes is offering odds of 500-1 on Agassi's and Steffi's foetus winning Wimbeldon in 2019. Now that's hardly encouraging when you consider some bookies are offering 350-1 on the Lochness monster turning up in the Chessington zoo in the next 12 months.
Ladbrokes is just being sensible. Every sportsman is made up of around 100,000 odd genes and although science has figured out which of these made Gary McAllister as bald as a pigeon's egg, we have no clue which one makes Fabien Barthez execute specatcular saves and in the very next minute, suddenly lose concentration, fumble and miss more balls than Cinderella.
It's in this context that Italy's decison to call up 14 year-old Diego Armando Junior Maradona for their Under-17 National team seems weird. That's right. Diego Junior is the son of none other than the legendary “El Pibe” and his mum has a court certificate to prove it.
Diego Junior's story begins in September 1986. Months after Maradona punched his way into English ignominy with THAT goal in Mexico, the Argentine's legendarily wandering hands also found their way to young Neapolitan fan Cristina Sinagra. A bouncing baby boy was the result. Diego himself has never recognised the child, but after conducting DNA tests in 1993 the Italian courts confirmed the boy officially of his loins.
Junior has been part of Napoli's youth program since 1997. After his surprise call-up 2 months ago, he and his Under-17 teammates were given a run out against Italy's senior squad, where Gennaro Gatusso attacked him with tackles that owed more to Bruce Lee than to the beautiful game.
Not surprisingly, Junior couldn't make much of an impression. Post the session, Italian coach, Giovanni Trapattoni, on being asked - "How did you rate the little Maradona?", replied, "Just that: little." But that has hardly deterred hero-worshipping Italian fans, who, for some reason, still believe their footballers are of the same quality as their racing cars and pasta. Not to mention, Serie A-deprived Neapolitans who, on seeing Diego Junior, still tend to behave as if they have seen an apparition of Virgin Mary.
Unfortunately, this mad race to sign up young footballing talent has spread to the shores of Britain. Stewart Jackson of top village side, Hatfield Heath, was in the news, recently, for trying his best to sign up a player who just turned twenty two. Twenty two months, that is.
"There is no doubt that Brooklyn Beckham is good enough to get into our reserve side" explained Jackson, as he tried to tempt Brooklyn with a dinkie car, a shirt and a bib bearing his famous father's No. 7.
"Brooklyn kicks the ball exactly like me"- observed David. But footballing ability isn't the only thing father and son seem to have in common. One of Posh Spice's friends let slip that whenever Victoria wants to make two-year-old Brooklyn laugh, she raises up her skirt and flashes her knickers. Apparently it works every time.
Agreed, parents do pass on identifiable characteristics , but the idea that they always pass on talent is quite preposterous. Albert Einstein's wife, Mileva, got a better physics degree than he did. One of their children suffered some kind of mental breakdown and the other showed no particular talent for mathematics, thinking or funny hairstyles. Bernard Shaw rightly countered Jean Harlow's suggestion that they have a child by saying, 'but what if it had my beauty and your brains?'
So tennis' most awaited foetus may not be that perfect sports machine. It's perfectly possible he has Steffi's backhand and Andre's volleying skills, or even worse, Steffi's nose and Andre's taste in headgear!