Question time on the state of Spanish football has been opened. The teams that until recently were world leaders are showing increasingly worrying signs. In the case of Barça, alarming. Real Madrid and Atlético do not offer guarantees either. Eliminated in the last 16 and quarter-finals of the last edition of the Champions League, their recent performances against Atalanta and Chelsea have accentuated the feeling of unease that dominates our football.
Opinions on this regression are as varied as the angle of the analyzes. The explanations range from the generational – the departure and the twilight of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi, the two formidable figureheads of this century – to the economic, problem materialized by the takeoff of the Prime Minister and the current system of distribution of television money. , something more egalitarian than ten years ago. According to this thesis, what is good for Real Madrid and Barca is good for football.
Mbappé and Haaland’s exposures against Barca and Sevilla have pushed towards another perspective: they seem to represent the new flag of football, supported by a speed that many deem unattainable for the Spanish teams. These are the two young men who serve as the axis of modernity, now identified with sporting exuberance, to which they add an undeniable technical quality.
These are not new opinions. At all times, physicist preponderance has been used when the equipment is not functioning. The decline of the Italian and Spanish teams in the 70s, the emergence of Ajax, the German successes in the 70s and 80s and the defeats of Brazil in the 1982 and 86 World Cups were explained in the same way. than vigor and tactics. the master’s degree served to explain Italian domination in the 1990s.
This analysis comes up against an uncomfortable obstacle: the hegemony of the national team and the Spanish teams for a long period of this century. It is true that Real Madrid and Barça have benefited from a gigantic economic injection, but it is also clear that our football has benefited from the productive work of training young people and in a heterodox perspective. Far from accepting the general rule, it offers an alternative model, supported by the highest technical quality and painstaking rigor in the field.
Not so long ago, the Cazorla, Silva, Iniesta, Xavi and company revolutionized football with a way of understanding the game that was the antipodes of fashion. Small in size, they were giants of the field. They have done the prestige of the Spanish League a gigantic favor, largely because they have added to their successes an idea presided over by beauty and not by cynicism.
It is quite possible that the Spanish league and its teams declined for economic reasons and their lack of solutions to many of the new proposals, stemming from the questions that other countries were previously asking themselves to counter the radical model of teams like the Barça or the national team. It will be difficult to find the answer in the athletic factor. It would be rare for Spain to start producing a Mbappé or a Haaland.
With or without athletes, a problem seriously threatens the Spanish League. It plays out badly, getting worse and worse, with an environment dominated by suffocating tactics, acclaimed by an environment that has no problem justifying ugliness. The matches have lost continuity, produce a very high number of fouls and are constantly stopped, with the regrettable tolerance of the referees. The desire to gamble has been lost in favor of speculation and cynicism. Left unchecked, this is the kind of scourge that can lead the League down the drain.