The current feeling in Spain is just as the title states: The Sky is Falling!
Thinking about it today, I must be one of the only people that believes this isn’t the case. On Monday’s The Offside Podcast Ian and I chatted about this exact subject.
My thoughts on the pod were this. There are really two views you can take from this issue. The first is looking at it from the ‘galaticos’ point of view. If you are a madridista you probably are running to your nearest church praying to whatever god you choose. You’ve just bowed out of your fourth straight Champions League title in the round of 16, but 6th straight since winning the title in 2002. You are also out of the Copa del Rey and now only have the league to fight for.
This view is completely Madrid-centric (or Big Club-centric for that matter). Only the big clubs are sitting there, complaining about the terribleness that is happening in Spain. Reuters Soccer Blog ran a story about how the Spanish game is losing its touch as of late, and cites Madrid’s as it’s main source, but more criticizes their style of play for this downfall.
The favoured Spanish style of slow, patient build-up play has passed its sell-by date. Too many players and coaches confuse possession with danger, while opponents who play on the break are criticised as if they were adopting some sort of underhand tactic. Few Primera Liga sides possess the pace, verve and dynamism of sides like Roma, Arsenal and Manchester United.
I guess I can see where that is coming from. Fabio Capello was let go last year after Madrid’s title due to his supposed ‘boring’ style of play, but I have to say that Schuster’s style of play isn’t any more free flowing than his predecessor’s.
Still, the Reuters article doesn’t even talk about the League in general, but focuses the downfall only on what is happening in Europe. Could it be that simply Spanish football is having an off year? It’s more of a focus on Madrid football then anything concrete about Spanish football in general. Madrid’s success does not parallel that of Spanish football as a whole, unfortunately.