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Football: Something in the left foot?

Rahul Joshi
8.51K   //    18 Mar 2013, 15:33 IST

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are those of the author, and not necessarily that of Sportskeeda.

Everything in the world, no matter how simple the task, is done instinctively by the right side of the paired limbs. No surprises when you see that a mere 28% of the people in the world are left handed. In their favor, they’re actually using the ‘right’ part of their brain, if you get the gist. Ritual suggests that when entering places which could determine your fate, always place the right foot first. Irrelevant superstitions also suggest that you always put your right arm into your coat on the eventful day of your first job interview.

Football, just as almost everything else in the world, follows the chaotic theory. Why hassle in trying out something new when nearly half the population has already taken the decision? Why experiment with a different flavor when custom says that Mango is the most juiciest drink in the summer? And hence, the preferred foot of the huge majority of the footballers is the right foot.

In the early, budding years of football as a sport, the right foot served as the gates for goals.

In this article, I’ll post two choices in front of you.

Choice 1 – Yes, Left footers are out of this world!

Being a left footer, I’m often asked,”Why are you a left footer? How did you become one?” I definitely have no answer for that.

Logic states that the majority should rule over the minority, but reality contradicts it, as the left handed people are considered generally more intellectual, and the left footed, more gifted.

If the past is to be taken into consideration, people who drifted from the general consensus were often mocked and made fun of. Those who tried to graze new pastures were shot down by the majority, and their path to success was a very ragged one. But it’s always them that tend to generate more success, as they’re considered being,’different’.

Roll back the years, and you could find left footers firmly rooted to their position of ‘left midfielder’ or ‘left back’. Return to the future, and you can find them all over the pitch! The right footers were considered as ‘more complete’, but the present definition of a complete player depends on your overall skill set, and not just your favorite foot.

Alfredo di Stefano, the most celebrated players in the history of the game, had a killer left-foot. Primarily a forward, he often foraged down the left wings and gave nightmares to any opposition that was given the daunting task of keeping him quite for the span of 90 minutes. Majority of the pundits, the players and the fans alike have termed him as the most complete footballer ever.

Ferenc Puskas is one footballer that the world will never forget. Scoring 85 international goals in just 84 appearances seem no stats of a mere mortal. His left foot has credited him with some beautiful goals over his illustrious career. Not surprised, are we? UEFA have rightfully named the Best Goal of the Year award as the Ferenc Puskas Award, in memory and respect of this very honorable servant of the beautiful game.

Johan Cruyff needs no introduction, does he? Probably the term, “Total Footballer”, defines him best. His time at Ajax and Barcelona have rightfully given him the tag of ‘Legend’. The goal has very often been a recipient of his deadly finish with his left foot.

The list is never complete without the name of two Argentinians that redefined ball control, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi. If I’d go on and on, I’ll have to write another article to speak high of these two maestros of the game. Both extremely gifted left footers.

Evergreen names like Karl-Heinz ‘Volkswagen’ Schnellinger, Ruud Krol and Paolo Maldini at the back would end games with clean sheets. Their clearances off the line and interceptions all but signify the importance of their tenure with club and country alike.

Roberto Carlos? Just the name is enough to bring forward his contributions towards football. 103 goals for a defender? Insane.

Looking at the current crop of midfielders, Xavi and Iniesta are of course, top of the lot. But names such as David Silva, Juan Mata, Ryan Giggs,  Mesut Ozil and Esteban Cambiasso are sure to cut any defense with their decisive passing and deft touches.

Raul Gonzales, Robin van Persie are clinical finishers with a polished, deadly left foot. Their strikes are sure to win silverware for any team. (For RvP, it would happen come the end of this season).

Patrice Evra, Ashley Cole, Petr Cech, Iker Casillas, Gareth Bale all stand out in their respective departments.

Left footers are considered to be better technically, extensively used for delivering set pieces, and taking better direct free kicks. Scientific study also shows that the left footer’s freedom of movement is more than that of a right footer.

Which again brings me to my question. Is it something about the left foot?

Choice 2 – That’s hokum, it’s just a coincidence that all of the above happen to be left footers. 

This is where we involve the math, and some logic. In choice 2, we look at what makes us think that left footed players are better than the right footed ones. No, this is not going to be some lesson in Biology where we’ll dissect our brains to find out which part enables us to do so.

In the world of nearly a million footballers, a small fraction happen to be left footers. They are rare, and so it’s all in our thought process. Since we never hear of left footers making mistakes, we assume that they are better than the right footers. In reality, the weak foot of these left footers is nowhere near to the deadliness of their opposite limb, whereas a right footer seemingly has a better weaker foot than the average left footer.

Secondly, godly names like Messi and Maradona have held the baton of the left footers, whose achievements blind the people into believing that left footers are the front-runners of football. A look into the talented right footers like Pele (primarily a left footer, but considered to have no weaker foot), Roger Milla, Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane (this guy doesn’t have a weak foot. PERIOD) David Beckham and most recently Cristiano Ronaldo, all but even things up.

Science says that if you’re naturally left footed, the right side of your brain is active, which is the more intellectual part of your brain. I guess that goes to explain the genius of Lionel Messi. But is it enough to call them better?

Last but not the least, the ability of using both your feet, and still not looking dumb, is what defines the complete footballer, so putting in simple words, they are nothing but the same.

So make your choice, 1 or 2? Let me know in the comments.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are those of the author, and not necessarily that of Sportskeeda.

Rahul Joshi
A Manchester United fan through thick and thin. I'm a Sportskeeda. Footballkeeda, to be precise. Analyst. Adamant follower of the Barclays Premier League. If I choose hell, I would go with the Red Devils. <3
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