I imagined myself at the London Palladium this week for the ‘FIFA Best Football Awards 2017.’ It seems a strange title for a competition, doesn’t it? I mean, who cares about the football itself; they’re all round aren’t they, and made out of pretty much the same material? No pigs blatters at FIFA these days…
Known colloquially as the Ronaldo Awards, this is the second year since FIFA decided that France Football magazine wasn’t paying them enough for their association with the Ballon d’Or. FIFA have usually been far more interested in money than football which is why staging the awards in a London theatre was the perfect fit of faux drama and pretence.
I managed to catch up with Harry Kane – which wasn’t difficult as he was hobbling around the corridors of fame, looking in vain for posters of himself on the walls – holding the top of his left thigh to make sure the rest of his foot was still firmly on the ground.
Mouth wide open, as usual, Harry has been having elocution lessons, although electrocution might have livened things up a bit more.
Harry: “One day there will be a picture of me in here!”
Mark: “Are you planning on an acting career when you have finished with football?”
Harry: “I didn’t dive. They were after me. They’re always after me.”
Mark: “You’re certainly a marked man these days.”
Harry: “My Grandad used to come here on Sunday evenings; nobody knew who he was.”
Mark: “Does fame bother you?”
Harry: “I’ve only watched it once, to be honest. I’ve got two left feet when it comes to dancing which is why I suppose nobody’s taken my picture yet. Don’t get me wrong, George was a great player and I think it’s brilliant that FIFA have named their awards after him, but the gaffer only lets me drink carrot juice, which is probably why I haven’t seen any cameras.”
Mark: “Perhaps when Tottenham win the Premier League title?”
Harry: “Look, Manchester City are out front; Crystal Palace play in south London.”
Mark: “But it’s only October, and August is behind you, thankfully.”
Harry: “We are a team that not many people talk about at the start, but we are here, and we will be here, hopefully, for the rest of the season when we might be there or thereabouts or here, there and everywhere. We will see what happens. It’s a long way to go to Manchester.”
Mark: “Did you think Zinedine Zidane deserved his award of best men’s coach?”
Harry: “Listen. I just let my feet do the talking on a football pitch. Whatever Mr Z advises bridegrooms and best men is up to him. He came up to me after our match in Madrid last week and said a great deal, but I don’t play cards or speak French so not sure what he really meant, to be honest.”
Mark: “And what did you think of Olivier Giroud winning the Puskas Award?”
Harry: “Like I said, I don’t speak French but I’m sure he’ll have it engraved on a bench outside the Emirates.”
Mark: “This is a legendary place – made for someone with your ambition?”
Harry: “I’ve just got to perform consistently, here and on other quite big stages but it’s not about getting my name in lights. We’ve been title challengers over the last couple of seasons and we need to be top of the bill now. I used to love that show. Bet everyone at Sun Hill knows who I am.”