Skill Academy: The Rabona – Watch the Good and the Bad

Date published: Friday 29th April 2016 4:25

Paul Gascoigne: Perfects The Rabona in an England shirt

In our new feature focusing on the best skills in the beautiful game, Danny Owen takes a detailed look at the Rabona and its origins before offering guidance on how to execute one.

There’s something rather magical about the Rabona.

Combining exquisite technical dexterity with true athletic prowess, it is the uber-elaborate signature of football’s greatest thespians. From lank-haired South American whizzkids to the mangled limbs of David Dunn, the Rabona never fails to deliver boundless exhilaration and countless dubstep-soundtracked vines.

Yet, unlike Johan Cruyff’s copyrighted swivel, the Panenka/Pirlo penalty, the Rabona’s origins are a little more obscure. Giovanni Roccotelli never played for Italy. Neither did he inspire a team of moustachioed legends to European Cup glory. Yet, we have Roccatelli to thank for popularising a move so elaborate even Cristiano Ronaldo saves it just for special occasions. It’s about time we learned his name: ‘Roccatelli’s Rabona’.

Serie B, 1976: Cagliari 0-0 S.P.A.L (skip to 1:20 to witness history).

While Brazil continue to sell out their bogo jonito principles for pragmatism, arch-rivals Argentina have seized ownership of football’s most satisfying skill, from Angel Di Maria’s spaghetti-legged efficiency to Erik Lamela’s White Hart wondergoal.

Jonathan Calleri, meanwhile, has occupied endless gossip column headlines in recent months with Chelsea, Tottenham, Inter Milan and Lazio allegedly fluttering their eyelashes and waving multi-million contracts in the 22-year-old’s direction. This might have something to do with it.

With a swivel, a swerve and an almighty swing of his legendary left peg, Diego Maradona once again proves it’s not just his hand blessed by some almighty otherworldly force.

There’s something very British about falling flat on our face during fleeting attempts of confidential charm. We’ve all mistaken a fricative Dutch digraph for a gliding Catalonian dipthong when ordering an elaborate starter after all. So, without further ado, here’s David Dunn with possibly the most English thing a football pitch has ever seen.

Now, we know you’re all itching to graze the underside of your local park’s crossbar with a perfectly executed ‘Roccatelli’. But, before you all wave goodbye to your knee ligaments, follow these tips and transform into the willowy Argentine winger you were destined to be.

By Danny Owen, @danny8195 on Twitter.

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