Thursday, December 23, 2010


Christian Gonzalez (Persib & Indonesia)

Just been watching a re run of Indonesia's first AFF Cup semi final against the Philippines and for a moment I couldn't believe my ears. One of the commentators was describing the hard work being put in by one of the Indonesian strikers. The pressure he was giving defenders, the tracking back, his movement.

Who the bloody hell was he on about?

Then the name Gonzalez was mentioned!

I've been watching Gonzalez for a few years now and his clinical ability inside the box has never been questioned. Since winning the Liga Indonesia to a good AFC Champions League Cup run in 2007 to a phenomenal second half to the 2009/2010 when he averaged over a goal a game (he'd netted once in the opening seventeen games) the man known as El Loco has been attracting headlines and interest from fans in Indonesia.

I've seen him do nothing for 90 minutes then a subtle nudge on a defender allows him enough space to bury the ball and rescue his team from certain defeat.

I've seen him when his body language has got the better of his own performances. Hands on hips, a steely stare, looking at the ground in front of him. These are common reactions when the ball doesn't go where the newly Indonesian striker wants it.

Work rate has never been high on his list of qualities though. The squat, barrel chested striker prefers to let others do he running round. Just give him the ball where he wants it and he will do the business.

There have been moments when he has run his socks off for the greater good. A Persik game away to Persija springs to mind when he was the first line of defence for much of the game allowing his partner Budi Sudarsono the space and time to pounce twice.

His performances during the AFF Cup have been more of the latter and less of the former and it is no surprise to see that he is the leading scorer with three goals.

What is a surprise is that one of his total came from 25 yards out and another, in the first leg against the Philippines, came straight from the old style Indonesian play when they would knock diagonal balls into the box for Bambang Pamungkas!

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