Spanish football guy Sid Lowe has another take for Sport Illustrated on why FIFA’s La Liga XI does not, in fact, portend a new dawn in Spanish football:
But the team of the year award masked a troubling reality for the Spanish league. In fact, more than masking it, it reflected that troubling reality. And in reacting to it, in puffing out his chest and glorying in it, the man responsible for it served only to underline it still further. The result did not so much reflect well on the Spanish league as on Spanish football. Nor did it change the fact that the league has serious problems, from falling attendances to poor organization, in-fighting, economic crisis, a lack of competitiveness and fragmented kickoff times.
If the Spanish league as an organization had contributed to those 11 men standing on stage in Zurich, it was at least in part in allowing two clubs to become so powerful at the expense of the rest as to dwarf not just the rest of Spain but the rest of Europe.
The man he is referring to is Juame Roures, owner of the company which holds La Liga TV rights (Lowe calls him the “de factor” owner of the Spanish league).
Most of the nastiness of this concentration of power is normally discussed in terms of economics, but I believe it also carries with it an ugly cultural effect, beyond even the simple issue of lack of local support for Spain’s countless non-Big Two storied clubs.
For one, it’s made fans of at least one La Liga club bat-shit crazy. There is more evidence this morning of the inability of fans to see their club for what it is—fundamentally, essentially, structurally not as good at football as Barcelona, but still competitive, particularly in the Champions League.
How else could one explain this? From Marca:
Real Madrid’s members cannot decide who should take over from José Mourinho. Despite two thirds of those asked agreeing that the behaviour and attitude of the Portuguese coach is damaging the club’s image, they know it will be difficult to replace him.
According to the survey carried out by the company Sigma 2 for MARCA, not one of the potential replacements for when Mou confirms his decision to leave at the end of the season reaches 25% of support amongst those polled.
Chelsea manager, Rafa Benítez, is the coach with the highest level of support in the survey, but with only 21.4% of the votes he is a long way from becoming a strong candidate to take over. What is true is the Madrid born coach who came up through the club’s youth system is the favourite amongst the over 65 year-old supporters, amassing 27.5% of their vote.
Rafa. Rafa! Rafa pit against Vilanova! Rafa! And they already have Mourinho. The delusion among Real Madrid supporters—that their historical rivalry, their wealth and their employment of Cristiano Ronaldo and three other FifPro XI players cannot compete with Barcelona’s La Masia-educated first team, one of the best European midfields in football history, and Lionel Fucking Messi.