Maric’s true value recognised

Last updated : 25 November 2002 By Martyn Elliott

Rare action shot of Maric
Speaking about his attempts to sign Inter striker Alvaro Recoba several years ago, Sir Bobby said: "I first saw Recoba when I went to see Ronaldo play his first match for Inter when he left Barcelona.

"It was 0-0, a tough match - like a game of chess - and then Recoba came on.

"I thought: 'Jesus, who is this boy?' He hit two absolute snorters that day with his left foot, both from 25 yards.

"Having seen him, I actually tried to get him on loan here from Inter. I thought: 'I'll take him to Newcastle'.

"That was in my first year here. Temuri Ketsbaia got injured, Duncan Ferguson was having problems while Silvio Maric... well, say no more.

"I went back to the chairman and said: 'Alan Shearer, that's all we've got.' So I tried to get Recoba.

"It was in the balance for a while but Inter wouldn't have it.

"I never quite got as far as talking to him - Inter put the poison down - and the chairman finally gave me a little bit of money and we bought little Kevin Gallacher, who did a great job for us.

"But what a player Recoba is."

It’s good to know that Sir Bobby has a healthy disrespect for the work shy Croatian. Any of you who saw his performance at Villa Park a couple of years back, when he only broke into a trot to run back to the bench after being substituted, will fully appreciate why.

If Maric had put in the same amount of effort as Gallacher he could have been one of the greats, but in common with many of Ruud Gullit’s signings he just could not be bothered to earn his huge salary.

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