A year ago today, Milad Mohammadi became immortal.
The name may not be familiar to you, but you who he is.
He’s the Roly-Poly Iranian, the Kazan Acrobat, the Throw-in Contortionist.
Our saviour (too strong?) rose to superstardom through a three-second exhibition of brave performance art.
Imagine this, you’re representing your country at a literal WORLD CUP and you’re playing Spain.
Death-by-a-thousand-cuts, Barcelona/Real Madrid hybrid, two Euros and a World Cup — that Spain.
You’re one-nil down having given a bloody good account of yourself; a proper likeable underdog performance.
There’s 17 seconds remaining before the final whistle and you, as the designated BIG THROWER, have the ball in your hands and an army of team-mates occupying the box to aim at.
Launch it onto the welcoming bonce of a mate you could be a hero to 80million football-mad compatriots.
But hang on, a thought enters your mind: what if I did a roly-poly?
It’s not the conventional time to do a roly-poly admittedly, but I suddenly feel very strongly about being upside down.
I’m going to do it; I’m going to go upside down while holding an official World Cup match ball and Sergio Ramos is going to watch me, and Andres Iniesta is going to watch me, and millions of people all over the world are going to watch me.
Maybe, at the end, I’ll throw the ball, but I’ll worry about that when I get there.
Okay, here I go…
Stunning, innovative, daring.
His pre-roll routine is as compelling as it is heartbreaking.
He kisses the ball (not included in GIF because it’s too explicit), only for it to betray him like a reverse Judas/Jesus situation.
There’s a sideways look to the bench, then to the heavens, as he seeks approval from both for what he’s about to do.
And then finally, just before the upside business, he taps the ball on his forehead in some futile attempt to focus himself.
I know what dear Milad was trying to do.
We’ve all seen those viral clips of frustrated gymnasts launching throws miles with a similar technique (similar, but vastly improved).
The difference is, those videos are from glorified Sunday League games, not WORLD CUP fixtures.
Some doubters say it wasn’t a botched attempt; they say the referee stopped him.
But that’s not true.
You can literally see the ref standing idle in the clip, watching on, mouth agape, in awe of it all.
It’s only after our boy has reset that the ref wanders over and tells him not to try again, presumably fearing the irreversible damage caused to his (and everyone else’s) brain by the overload of serotonin that would undoubtedly follow a second attempt.
The best thing about it all – and I do NOT say that lightly – is the fact he eventually throws it short.
All those visions of a Rory Delap decapitator and he resigned himself to a limp wrist flick to the nearest man.
It’s a tragedy that looks at Hamlet and/or Romeo x Juliet and says: why are you so f**king chirpy?
See you same time next year, and every year until the overdue demise of the human race!