Salvador Dali Played Football?

What could have been…

In 2006 David James wrote a piece for the Observer called ‘Salvador Dali and Wayne Rooney — what a pair of artists’, comparing Rooney’s football prowess to that of Dali’s in art.

In it he says, “I love certain artists. Salvador Dali is one. He’s technically superb. Dali can match the Renaissance art of Michelangelo, but he also does the abstract. Simply put, Dali is your Wayne Rooney equivalent: he can do the technical stuff but he can also do a bit more. He also invested meaning and emotion into his paintings.”
David James writes? Draws? Okay, just being cheeky, says the grammatically challenged copywriter. I am sure, at the time, James had no idea that Salvador Dali played football in his youth but neither did I until recently. But still, that’s some deep stuff James…you who broke my heart, by your own admission, playing too much Playstation, to become ‘Calamity James’ in goal for my beloved Liverpool.
When you think Dali, you think eccentric, never football and to quote James again in his element…
“Football and art have yet to really make a connection. Horse racing and cricket, athletics and even golf have made it into the classical arena, but football has been left behind. The few examples of football and art that I have seen tend to be static and devoid of feeling — the antithesis of the game itself. Perhaps the problem stems from football being part of popular culture.”
But by no means is Dali confined to just art in a classic sense, his creative range is quite immense. He contributed to theatre, fashion, photography and much more.
He gave us the Lobster telephone and The Mae West Lips Sofa.
He created jewellery pieces, 39 in fact giving us the “The Royal Heart”, which is made of gold and is encrusted with 46 rubies, 42 diamonds, and four emeralds and is created in such a way that the centre “beats” much like a real heart.
He collaborated with Disney for a short film showing his artwork interacting with Disney animation.
He also worked with fashion designers most famous being Christian Dior to create ‘ a special ‘costume for the year 2045'.
Photography with Man Ray, movies with Alfred Hitchcock and god knows what with Freud.
He even collaborated with Romanian mathematician Matila Ghyka for ‘Leda Atomica’, organising it to a rigid mathematical framework following the divine proportion.
He designed the logo for Chupa Chups lollipops. Even Andy Warhol nicked his muse Ultra Violet, well sort of…
But Dali, play football, really?
And to back to the point of why I even began writing this piece.
It all started with quotes from Dali, automatically, next stop Wiki, then links to make sure Wiki was not being tricky. And it was confirmed. Dali’s childhood friends included future FC Barcelona footballers, Sagi Barbá and Jose Samitier. During holidays at the Catalan resort of Cadaqués, the trio played football together.
But these were not just your average Barcelona players, they were future stars. They were prominent members of the brilliant FC Barcelona team coached by Jack Greenwell.
Sagi Barba played 455 games and scored 134 goals for FC Barcelona and is best remembered for forming a successful partnership with the legendary Paulino Alcántara.
José Samitier scored 326 goals and is second only to Paulino Alcántara as the FC Barcelona’s all time top goalscorer. As a player he pioneered the midfield general role and was nicknamed El Mag (The Magician) and Home Llagosta (The Grasshopper Man) due to his style. As a manager he led CF Barcelona to a La Liga title in 1945 and as a scout he recruited another CF Barcelona legend Ladislao Kubala.
That’s some esteemed company to be knocking a game of holiday footy and holding your own. Then you get it, aha! He comes from Catalunya! So this got me thinking, Salvador Dali in football? Would his shirt read like the Brazilians do? Would it be Dali, Salvador, Don Salvador or Avida Dollars(;p)? But most exciting, what would his post match interviews be like, his quotes.
You think Eric Cantona…
“When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”
“I am not a man, I am Cantona” “I didn’t study; I live.”
You think Jose Mourinho…
“Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.”
“For me, pressure is bird flu. I’m feeling a lot of pressure with the problem in Scotland. It’s not fun and I’m more scared of it than football.”
Now a taste of Dali’s quotes to give you an idea of where my mind is at…
“At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.”
“Every morning when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy — the joy of being Salvador Dalí — and I ask myself in rapture: What wonderful things is this Salvador Dalí going to accomplish today.”
“The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret.”
“There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.”
“I seated ugliness on my knee, and almost immediately grew tired of it.”
“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.”
“It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself.”
“I shall be so brief that I have already finished”
And if not for his quotes, what would he have brought to the design of the football kit? Or at the very least, ‘The Moustached One’, would have inspired an army of fans to wear fake curly taches on the terraces. But he’s Dali, and there is no very least, he might have redesigned football, starting from the center circle.

Links to more quotes from Salvador Dali…