Question time on the state of Spanish football has been opened. Teams that until recently served as world leaders are showing increasingly worrying signs. In the case of Barça, alarming . Neither do Real Madrid and Atlético offer guarantees. Eliminated in the round of 16 and quarter-finals in the last edition of the Champions League, their recent performances against Atalanta and Chelsea accentuated the sense of unease that runs through our football.
Opinions on this regression are as varied as the angle of the analysis. The explanations range from the generational – the departure and twilight of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi , the two formidable figureheads of this century – to the economic, a problem materialized in the launch of the Premier and the current money distribution system of the television, something more egalitarian than a decade ago. According to this thesis, what is good for Real Madrid and Barça is good for football
The exhibitions of Mbappé and Haaland against Barça and Sevilla pushed another perspective: they seem to represent the new football flag, sustained by a speed that many considered unattainable for Spanish teams. They are the two young people who act as the axis of modernity, now identified with athletic exuberance, to which they add an undeniable technical quality.
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They are not new opinions. At all times, the preponderance of the physical has been resorted to when the equipment does not work. 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 was thus explained, in the same way as the vigor and tactical mastery served to explain Italian dominance in the 1990s.
This analysis runs up against an uncomfortable obstacle: the hegemony of the Spanish national team and teams over a long period of this century. It is true that Real Madrid and Barça benefited from a gigantic economic injection, but it is also clear that our football benefited from the productive work of training young people and from a heterodox perspective. Far from accepting the general rule, he proposed an alternative model, supported by the highest technical quality and a laborious rigor on the field.
It was not so long ago that the Cazorla, Silva, Iniesta, Xavi and company revolutionized football with a way of understanding football. game that was in the antipodes of fashion. Small in stature, they were giants in the field. They did a gigantic favor to the prestige of the Spanish League, largely because to their successes they added an idea presided over by beauty, not by cynicism.
It is very possible that the Spanish championship and its teams have declined for economic reasons and lack of of solutions to many of the new proposals, arising from the questions that other countries previously asked themselves to counteract the radical model of teams such as 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 is played badly, worse and worse, with the environment dominated by a suffocating tacticism, cheered by an environment that has no problem in 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 eagerness to play has been lost, in favor of speculation and cynicism. If left unchecked, it is the kind of scourge that can lead the League down the drain.