Better in the flesh

Let’s start with a confession: as years add to my odometer, I’m becoming less and less disciplined in terms of watching football live at the stadium. A few years ago, I would not only watch my team’s matches at the Santiago Bernabeu, but would also make the most of every chance to see other teams at their own stadia, regardless of the country I’d be at. Hell, I even went to watch a West Ham vs Man City in a weekend in London – totally deserved the £458 tube trip from the west of London to the West of Ham, or a Aston Villa – Chelsea in which Tore Andre Flo starred — do not recommend Birmingham though. A Southampton vs Wimbledon in which LeTiss scored off a corner kick in a classic winter British afternoon also comes to mind.

In Madrid, plenty of times I’ve watched Real Madrid and Atleti, or Real Madrid and Rayo live in the same weekend, or Sao Paulo and Palmeiras on consecutive days when I lived in Brazil. Continue reading “Better in the flesh”

The Spain we should have seen at the World Cup

Preview of LaLiga’s 4thmatchday

Is the Spanish national team back? After winning at Wembley and thrashing World Cup runners-up Croatia, looks like new coach Luis Enrique has found the right approach to get the most out of the talented midfield and play an exciting, hard-to-stop brand of football.

However, this team never went away. The terrible sequence of decisions involving Florentino Perez, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Rubiales – and, for the record, I believe that the third name was as much to blame as the other two combined – wasted some outstanding preparation for the World Cup and made the team lose their focus at the worst possible time. Continue reading “The Spain we should have seen at the World Cup”

Luis Enrique takes the driving seat

Preview of LaLiga’s third week

The (not very long) wait is over. Luis Enrique announced his first list as the coach of the Spanish national team, and the surprises were minimal. Jordi Alba, with whom Luis Enrique does not get along since his time at the Barcelona bench, was left out, as were Koke, Lucas Vazquez and Iago Aspas. I have to admit that I’m shocked that Isco made the cut.

True to form, Luis Enrique said that he would not discuss Aspas’ case or any other, for that matter. He also announced more “surprises” in upcoming lists and invited the injured Diego Llorente, who just broke his leg, to share these days with the team so that he “cheers up a bit”. Continue reading “Luis Enrique takes the driving seat”

La Liga is now LaLiga

Preview of La Liga’s 2nd week

Call it marketing, branding or nonsense, La Liga’s latest communication trick is that it’s now become LaLiga. You probably haven’t noticed the difference, but there’s a space missing. In a world in which orthographic or syntactical errors have become brands, why not LaLiga instead of La Liga?

First, the match in the US – apparently a Girona vs Barcelona in January –, now LaLiga, and then what? It does not really matter. Javier Tebas has decided to be in the media every week, and he’ll succeed. A different topic to generate discussion and awareness – marketeers favourite word – will put La Liga or LaLiga where it deserves. Continue reading “La Liga is now LaLiga”

La Liga goes international

Preview of La Liga’s 1st Matchday

It was to be expected. La Liga’s announcement of a partnership with an apparently diligent, professional media company to enter the US / Canadian market was met with outrage, as the statement mentioned that one match will be played in the Americas for the next 15 seasons. Where is the opinion of the fans? What happens with season ticket holders? And what about the players? This is again Javier Tebas doing things on his own, for his own benefit, and destroying the sport as we know it, and as it should be. Continue reading “La Liga goes international”

More than numbers

On Ronaldo’s Real Madrid tenure

Note: This is a highly personal account of Cristiano Ronaldo’s tenure as a Real Madrid player. To throw in some relevant background, I have to say that I don’t attach much importance to individual accolades in a sport that uses eleven players plus subs, and that I also believe that it’s almost impossible to decide who the GOAT is in most sports, especially football.

Continue reading “More than numbers”

A long summer

Real Madrid watches its squad weaken while the summer goes by

neymar rm
No, not happening

This summer feels long and awkward, at least from the perspective of most Real Madrid fans. The days of the prohibitive, but exciting signings are gone. Instead, the club has kept a very low profile, and only speaks to the press in the form of public statements denying negotiations with Neymar or Mbappe, when it was quite obvious that the rumours associating those players with Real Madrid were completely implausible. Reminds one of an ageing playboy denying having had anything to do with up-and- coming stars just to make himself relevant again, but failing in the process. Continue reading “A long summer”