El Centrocampista

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY: Real Madrid fans see God, Manzano uninterested in Clásico, and Valencian suicide!

It’s time once again to cast a scrutinous eye over the Spanish press in the build-up to Saturday’s main event. Yes, the eyes of football fans the world over will be drawn to Levante’s big clash with Sevilla at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium, and we won’t let you miss a minute!

Ok so, cheap jokes aside, pre-Clasico shambles in the Spanish press continue, with Sport taking the elcentrocampista.com award for most bizarre story on religious beliefs and football ever and looking unlikely to relinquish their crown. More on that later.

There’s also time for some angry antics from Gregorio Manzano (though I have to ask, is he ever not angry?), and proof from El Mundo Deportivo that in few words, a headline can sum up a game of football perfectly.

Before we fix our attention on all things Barcelona and Real Madrid, let’s spare a though for poor Valencia who were, well, poor. Despite attempts to convince us all that Andre Villas Boas is now a certified tactical genius , Valencia’s downfall on Tuesday night was very much a product of their own error.

Against a Chelsea side with a shaky backline that can be hurt by pace, quick passing and intricate movement, Valencia instead opted to throw in bread and butter high balls towards an isolated Roberto Soldado, all the while leaving themselves painfully exposed on the break. Maybe that’s just my opinion, but El Mundo Deportivo seemed to agree, with their short but perfect headline of “Suicido de Valencia” (Valencian suicide).

Super Deporte tried a similar approach with their line “Un suicido no forzado” (an unforced suicide), but EMD have to claim the glory here because A: their headline was just better and, B: I’m not sure forced suicide is a correct legal term. Let’s leave it at that.

Now that the obligatory non big two story is out of the way, it’s back to all things El Clásico.

The irony will be lost on him, but irony there was. Gregorio Manzano, in stating how little he cares about the big fixture in the Spanish calendar, also managed to come up with one of the more relevant headlines about the two teams in question. AS quoted Manzano as saying “Si Madrid y Barça lo copan todo será un aburrimiento” (if Madrid and Barça have a monopoly, everything will just be boring).

Whilst the omnipresence of two teams at the top of the Spanish league isn’t a new theme, it has somehow managed to remain inconspicuous in the buildup to this week’s game. Regardless of the quality of football on display in these incredible fixtures, they are, none the less, a perfect example of the imbalance of La Liga as it stands.

The fact that so much importance is placed on Saturday’s game that it may well decide the outcome of a league not due to finish until next year is indicative of everything that is wrong in Spanish football at the moment. I say well done to Manzano for sticking his neck out and saying something worthwhile amongst a sea of empty words this week.

Speaking of empty words and general pointlessness, it’s time to explain my earlier comments in relation to Sport. If you took a saunter over to sport.es today or, indeed, picked up a paper copy of the diari, you’ll notice a nice graph nestling on the front page.

The beautiful diagram is accompanied by the headline “Barça y Madrid, también separados por la religión” (Barça and Madrid are also separated by religion) and, as you can tell, the piece is rather bewildering.

We’re not sure of what relevance this has to football at all, but we’ll endeavour to explain anyway. According to Sport,  those who identify themselves as practicing or occasionally practicing Catholics (35% and 43% of the people questioned) are far more likely to align themselves with Real Madrid than Barcelona.

Moreover, of those who identified themselves as atheists, half said they are Barcelona supporters compared to a mere 11% with sympathies for Real Madrid. Finally, of those who practice a religion other than Catholicism, 57% said they supported Barcelona, with only 14% following Madrid.

What does this mean in relation to football? Absolutely nothing. Read between the lines and there’s a typically partisan subtext promoted by Sport here: that Real Madrid fans are religious and therefore backwards in some way, and that Barcelona is somehow more multi-cultural due to attracting more non-catholics.

More of the same-old same-old then, in other words, and absolutely irrelevant. But then, if it’s irrelevant and yet antagonistic towards Madrid, you can guarantee Sport will print it.

Remember to keep an eye on the site throughout the buildup towards Saturday’s game for more bizarre and wonderful stories from the Spanish press.


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  1. Pingback: Lastest Deporte News | Peliculas Online

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