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How Mario Jardel Broke My Heart

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Guest writer Nick Wolstenholme shares his innermost feelings towards a podgy Brazilian guyguy

Michael Steele/Getty Images

Back when I was a lad, I was "lucky" enough to cross paths with a Bolton Wanderers star whose light shone brightly albeit for a very very short period of time.

August 2003:
A Brazilian international and two time European golden boot winner, the all-time fifth deadliest champions league goalscorer (based on goals per games ratio), had somehow ordained us with his glorious presence for our small Lancashire club. Mario Jardel.

I had very high hopes for him and excitedly explained to anyone who would listen that this Brazilian would tear strips off Premier League defences shortly as soon as Big Sam got him fit. Admittedly he looked very well upholstered but this would be swiftly samba-ed away on the muddy fields of Euxton.

Alas that fitness never came - so the excess timber combined with a very peculiar running gait / fast mince and very few appearances "Super" Mario Jardel became "Lardel".

A cruelly accurate moniker.

I never gave up on Mario. He was like a fat bird with a broken wing and a white beak (as rumours were later admitted http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1017157/Bolton-old-boy-Jardel-lifts-lid-cocaine-abuse-football.html), I always thought he could do the business for us, his appearances were restricted to the league cup he scored a couple against Walsall and a good header against Liverpool but that summed up his time on the pitch.

He was a spent force, a busted flush.

In December 2003 I saw him twice in 2 days:

1 - Bolton Arndale: Getting some presents wrapped at a charity wrapping counter - Mario was wearing some ice white baggy jeans with at least 7 zips per thigh, these strides would not have looked out of place on Pliers (one half of 90's influential pop-reggae duo Chaka Demus and Pliers). N.B. he was with the third most beautiful woman I have ever seen in real life - an exotic South American lovely.

2 - Tesco Horwich: Setting off the security Alarm by leaning against a firedoor whilst eating a Dairy Milk.

Mario left Bolton for Ancona shortly after the security door debacle.

The trajectory of his career now in a sad downward spiral (he subsequently flopped in Italy, Cyprus, Argentina, Bulgaria, Portugal, Brazil, Australia).

During his time in Italy journalist poetically wrote: "We stretch a veil of silence in respect of what he has been".

Mario you broke my heart.