The British football mentality – much like the wider British mentality – is a gentle mixture of ignorance and arrogance. It is these qualities that led this nation to invent a game, decide it had been perfected by 1872, march out across the globe, benevolently bestowing it unto those miserable unfortunates not blessed to born on this sceptred isle, and then stick our fingers in our ears in case any new ideas seeped in from the outside world. So by the time British football finally started to pay actual attention to other nations’ football around 1991, an image of the foreign player as a fundamental exponent of all the things that climate, temperament and odd received concepts of moral rectitude prevented from manifesting in the British game had taken firm root. No matter how much time we’ve spent with the likes of Stig Igne Bjørnebye or Noé Pamarot, we can’t shake the idea that, if a man from another country is wearing studded boots, he should be full of attacking flair, fits of passionate temper and be topped off with truly fantastic hair. And if you were to sit and draw a picture of that archetypical foreigner, the finished portrait would bear a striking resemblance to one Pablo Daniel Osvaldo.
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