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As much as everyone hates the transfer window, it does guarantee one thing: transfers. More importantly that means unveilings and because there is justice in the world that means unveiling new players on the pitch, which in turn means them popping on their new club's kit and giving the assembled fans and the world's journalists a brief glimpse of their ball-juggling ability.

Even better than all of that is what happens next. It turns out soccer ­players can't always do a thing that we take for granted that they can do better than us. As the evidence proves, some of the most expensive players in the world - human beings who warrant the GDP of a minor nation in transfer fees - can not keep the ball off the ground for more than a few seconds.

Real Madrid signing Theo Hernandez started the ball rolling (well away from his foot) when he signed from Atletico Madrid earlier this summer. The attacking fullback barely managed six touches during his press conference on the Bernabeu pitch. Barcelona then went two better. Both Paulinho, a Brazilian aka the one nationality we all look to for teaching us how to caress a ball, and record signing Ousmane Dembele struggled to keep the ball off the ground.

It's not a new phenomenon. There is a case that when the pressure is on (and if there is any more pressure than the media at Real Madrid then it could be used by science to turn carbon to diamonds) it's hard to perform. That could explain both Danilo - just five kickups - and Gareth Bale's Bernabeu uncomfortable unveilings where they both looked like drunk tourists who had stumbled on a ball and fancied showing their mates they could play a bit. They could not.

I remember being told by a former Norwich City trainee that they could never forget when Papa Bouba Diop arrived at the club on a trial as a youngster and could barely do a few kickups. The occasion of him recounting this story? Diop had scored the opener as Senegal beat France in the opening game of the 2002 World Cup. Clearly, the ability to control a ball is not vital to a career in the professional game - although it might be easier if like Diop, you had the nickname of The Wardrobe.  There is another tale that Pippo Inzaghi on arrival at his first Italy training session after being called up to the Azzurri squad also mystified his countrymen with an ability to control the ball further than many of the could pass. Inzaghi had the last laugh, though, as three Serie A titles, two Champions Leagues and a World Cup prove. Credit where it's due: Pippo's medals are hard to hold let alone juggle. 

The thing is, for the purist, juggling the ball is football stripped down. Take Maradona. When El Diego was at his peak in 1989 he was the embodiment of this. His warm-up for Napoli away to Bayern Munich is on YouTube for all to see and see it you must. Set to the hit record Live is Life, he preps for the UEFA Cup tie by juggling the ball and he is relaxed as you like. His laces remain untied throughout. This is a man who personifies soccer, who is at one with the ball.

Gary Lineker recalled that some of the biggest names in the game were in awe of Maradona's warm-up when he prepped for the England vs the Rest of the World game that marked the Centenary of the Football League in 1987. Lineker was his teammate - he played for Barcelona at the time - and was amazed that Maradona could repeatedly volley the ball 30 yards (27 meters) in the air without having to move. Michel Platini and Paolo Futre were among those who joined Lineker in amazement.

Juggling is not everything. Seeing future Ballon d'Or winner Neymar fall over trying to flick the ball up and falling over confirms that, as do the countless failed pros who make a living outside tourist attractions doing things with a soccer ball that you could not imagine. But there's a part of me that always wants players to have superhuman soccer ability rather than athleticism and a desire to succeed.

The author is a Shanghai-based freelance writer. jmawhite@gmail.com