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La Liga : Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

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Hi there. :)

So many may have read my previous post damning the running of our league and how quickly La Liga has gone from a strong in depth league to one ran by only two and is something to think about for other leagues that allow this to happen. In my last post was all doom and gloom however every story has two sides this will the opposite view.

If money distribution has helped destroy our league with the big two making four or five times as much as the rest what have the other teams got to look forward to, the answer is simple, youth.

Is true to say that some major clubs cannot compete financially with the likes of Real Madrid so I ask you what chance has little Rayo got or Celta Vigo and the answer is none, however money is not always everything and there is usually more ways around it than demanding big spending. Just like sometimes you could win big for just a few pounds instead of high stakes, click here to make a football bet.

Last season we all enjoyed Borussia Dortmund and their run to the final with a squad of largely homegrown and small transfers they enjoyed some luck as people forget they were probably a few seconds away from losing to Malaga a team that has payed for trying to buy instant success.

Lewandowski picture

Robert Lewandowski cost around 5 million Euro’s and he scored four times against Real Madrid alongside the likes of Marko Reus, Mario Gotze and Ilkay Gundogan showed that a balance of clever small fee signings and home grown young German talent can compete with the biggest spenders. Of course the key word in their journey was time, is fair to say that they were a very successful side in the 90’s (and I presume earlier as well!) they had a spell of re-building if you will.

This journey is an inspirational one and for teams in La Liga could be the key to the future, a blueprint if you will that shows with a strong academy, trust in younger players and clever signings of smaller fees along with being financially secure can and will breed success if you are patient enough to wait for it.

Spain usually is not patient, however with the situation I explained in our country in the last post for now we dont have any choice, and in a crazy way might just be the saviour of our league and our national team.

Spain has entered the world of our ‘Golden age’ is something I wasnt sure what it meant until I chatted with a few people and it means for now Spain is probably the best team in the world, had you said that when I was at school I would think you were making fun as Spain were the biggest underachievers in history probably! For many years are hopes and dreams of success on the national stage were met with huge disappointment as alongside England we could only watch and admire the history of Brazil, Germany, Italy etc

England and Spain actually share so much in common as our biggest footballing achievements were made in the 1960’s long before I was born and oddly both won on our home soil! Ask any England fan and they will talk about 1966 almost as if they were there, despite like me not being born for 40 or 50 years! Spain won the European championships in 1964 beating the Soviet Union in the final and for us that was as good as is gets and like England and Holland we all joined the one wonder club.

Seems mad to think that these three nations would struggle for so long on the big stage with the players produced, Spain 1964, England 1966 and Holland 1988 would be the only success in the 20th century.

espana, endland holland

So I ask myself what happened? Well Spain has an excuse of sorts our history, as with all countries ours is full of tyranny, war, greed, corruption and power and the Spanish Civil war. I could honestly spend so much time explaining and talking about it as history is one of my main passions but this topic is probably to big to start in the middle of this one but its role probably destroyed Spanish football for decades.

They say never discuss football and politics the problem with Spain, football is politics and looks like it always will be, that could perhaps be an article in the future. ;)

Lets go through the 70’s and past the 80’s when I was born, through the 90’s and into 2002 the world cup in South Korea and Japan and Spain’s best chance for years a squad that had the likes of Casillas, Helguera, Puyol, Hierro, Raul, Tristan, Albelda, Mendieta, Xavi, Valeron, Luis Enrique!

It was the best squad in years and for the first time excitement that we finally had a genuine chance to lift our first ever world cup then in the quarter finals we lost on penalties to the hosts South Korea.

Our penalty history is on par with England and our hopes and dreams were ended again, two years later in Portugal more disaster as we failed to get out of the group even losing to our rivals Portugal.

It was the end of our so called era and that of the ‘golden generation’.

Spain before 2008

Then everything seem to change, am not sure why but politics suddenly became less important as players from all over Spain came together as did the fans as we entered 2008 and optimism suddenly flooded the country, another big chance or another chance to disappoint both at the time were 50/50.

Spain delighted however with fast paced attacking football, the fresh faced Fernando Torres and the clinical finishing of David Villa the experience of Puyol and Marchena matched with the youth of David Silva and Cesc Fabreagas. It seems everything was in place, no expectation just excitement of the team we had. Three wins from three in the group and then a victory on penalties to Italy it did really feel like this could be done. The semi was Russia defeated and then Germany and a moment that will stay with me for my life, Fernando Torres racing in and clipping the ball over the keeper and into the goal, Spain held on and we had finally won something!

Espana 2008

It was odd and surreal to see our nation lift the trophy, to see players all together under one flag the intense history almost forgotten for a few hours (or days!) as the parties went on long into the night, for once I can say I actually saw my team win a major European trophy. Not living in memories from times before I was born and not waiting in nervous excitement only to be let down as usual, but winners, on the main stage.

Only two years later our nation would lift the biggest prize in world football in South Africa with Andres Iniesta’s extra time winner against Holland a moment that would bring the nation together again as one for the first time in decades. For the first time Spain went is as arguable favorites and I saw the most incredible moment of my life.

This felt different like the European success two years earlier was the dress rehearsal for the main event oddly this victory felt as if everything has been achieved, our country with its troubled past, its politics its ability to hurt itself had finally won the biggest prize available.

Spain 2010

I guess its a moment that changes your life but changes nothing, it just feels like it does. A moment money cant buy, a moment you can say I was there even though you were not at the stadium your spirit was there. A moment Spain was united as one country and politics and history were forgotten for a few days. A moment of history and a moment you forget just how bad your hair was! :)

A picture I keep with me always, it was after the victory and my family for once all came together and celebrated, a moment of a life time.

Its hard to put into words the feeling you feel, especially in a language that is not your own! I just couldn’t believe that our country and our team was the best in the world I felt sure that it was as good as it can get, English is the most poetic language around full of little sayings and one felt more true than ever.

‘What goes up must come down’ I felt sure that this was it for Spanish football, but I dint mind as we had achieved the biggest prize available. To win yet another European championship in 2012 was crazy as now it felt like we were dominate and I look at the squad now and the youth teams and I ask just how did this happen? We go into Brazil looking for our fourth major trophy in a row even I don’t know how that has happened but having looked the answer is simple, to go back to my opening paragraph the answer is youth.

Please Select Page 2 For The Second Part Of My Article.

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  1. Jack

    September 8, 2013 at 19:51

    Nice article Ana, there are lots of quality young Spanish footballers coming through, and the national team’s success are both big positives for Spanish football at the moment, even if some clubs don’t have too much money, so it isn’t all doom and gloom :)

    • Ana Garcia

      September 9, 2013 at 19:20

      Hi Jack and thanks. :)

      Agreed, I guess the big question is the lack of money in Spain responsible for our very strong national teams but all I know is there is an incredible amount of Spanish talent on the way is exciting times I think!

  2. pedro roriz

    September 9, 2013 at 00:24

    i hope the best for spain, ana. it is nice to see another country developing on youth.
    a warning, though. here in brazil, we were used to success for many years as our youth output is also really special. however, we are finding it increasingly hard to develop players in the same quality as our recent legends, like ronaldo, roberto carlos, rivaldo, ronaldinho, rai, taffarel, cafu, etc. That difficulty is expected because those players were simply out of this word.
    i fear spain may struggle to find another pair like xavi and iniesta, for instance. fabregas and busquets are really good players, but ther are just that. they are not legends as the other two. finding casillas was superb because he kept the worldclass level of canizares and zubizarreta, but if it wasn’t for him, the next best choice would have been reina, or valdes. and they are only good. the same for the `monster` puyol. or villa, for that matter.
    what i’m trying to say is that even though spain’s youth is indeed really good, i fear that keeping the incredible level of this generation is something beyond their potential. just like it happend with brazil.
    our sad tendency starts with producing the likes of bebeto, romario, rai, careca, ronaldo and rivaldo in 10 years, for later on getting to kaka and ronaldinho. after that, it took us many many years to have a neymar. quality just wasn’t that easy to find anymore.

    • Ana Garcia

      September 9, 2013 at 19:30

      Hi Pedro good to hear from you. :)

      Oh, I no the troubles once you start producing top players then suddenly every player is rated against that and their can and will be a decline in quality.

      I guess the big difference is that Spain success is also being built from u17 right to the very top so players are used to winning but to comparison we had Mendieta now we have Xavi, we had Hierro now is Puyol before was Raul now is Villa so it wasnt that we had bad players just bad attitude.

      Is exciting to see if Koke can be the next Xavi or if Inigo can get to Puyol level but I do agree their has to be a decline as Brazil is a much larger population than Spain so if Brazil declined Spain will also.

  3. Johnny Karp

    September 9, 2013 at 07:17

    Great post Ana, Spain never lacked young talent so the national team is pretty safe in my view, no worries there. How the clubs develop is a different story though. By the way, I think Thiago Alcantara is the brightest prospect, if he stays clear of injuries he has what it takes to become a superstar.

    • Ana Garcia

      September 9, 2013 at 19:37

      Thanks Johnny. :)

      Is true we have always produced excellent players but now is from the whole league so the future is very exciting. With so many potential stars is difficult to pick just one!

      I chose Morata as I feel he reminds me of a young Raul but is stronger and more well built for the modern game, but Isco and Thiago are the next big stars in Spain.

  4. Sebbero

    September 9, 2013 at 13:56

    This was good read. They seem to be benefiting from good amount of young players coming through which is good to see but way managing players to setup to senior team is good as well and one issue with England is soon players picked for Senior team they become unavailable for under 21s which is wrong as chamberlain would be better of going under 21s tournament then playing 20 minutes against Brazil earlier this year. Hopefully England turn corner a bit and manager will pick players from other clubs that are performing well now that Lambert has made impression.

    • Ana Garcia

      September 9, 2013 at 19:43

      Thank you am glad you enjoyed it. :)

      I guess Spain and England are the mirror opposite for now, we are more focused on building our teams from our academies and England are used to buying in mostly foreign players to improve.

      I guess England can learn a little from Spain but is more attitude, I find English teams want success quickly yet our system was introduced for over ten years before the first victory in 2008.

  5. Ryan Daly

    September 9, 2013 at 17:02

    I love how people say the end is near for Spain with Xavi close to retirement and Iniesta on his way out of his prime but when those 2 go you have Oliver Torres, Isco, Suarez, Thiago and Koke who could easily fit in as replacements.
    I actually believe the Spain team for the 2016 Euros will be equally as good, if not better than the current lot. I think Isco could even be a starter next year, he is just too good. Thiago is absolutely phenomenal too. I could be here for hours if I started admiring all these young Spaniards, its incredible

    • Ana Garcia

      September 9, 2013 at 19:52

      Hi Ryan. :)

      I agree! I guess when one side is winning most things they always look for a way to bring that team down by saying when Villa goes and Xavi and Puyol, Spain wont be as good but like you said there are many payers on the way up not just one or two but five or six players in each position some you didnt mention like illarramendi, Ruben Pardo, Sergi Robeto, Sarabia, Saul, I could have used ten or eleven pages for players! :)

      I share the same idea and I have said I feel we will have an even better squad in Brazil and the following Euro’s than the previous ones I honestly dont know how it has happened the amount is amazing but also I think is more down to the set-up not just luck clubs deserve a massive amount of praise for what they are achieving also.

      • pedro roriz

        September 9, 2013 at 20:15

        I completely agree with that. Small and medium sized clubs are to be praised for youth development. I guess barcelona too.
        I just consider both xavi and iniesta, for instance, as out of this world. For me, pirlo would have to improve considerably to get to xavi’s level, for example. And so would fabregas, when compared to iniesta. Replacing those two and finding a worldclass striker (raul’s level) will be tough.

        • Ana Garcia

          September 16, 2013 at 11:12

          Is true that Xavi and Iniesta are amazing players and the chemistry between the two will never be replaced in my view. Fabregas I think will improve and Spain have managed success without a real center forward.

          Villa replaced Raul’s goals so is now up to either Soldado or Negredo to fill in until Morata develops but my guess is the ‘shadow’ forward so neither will likely get that chance. :)

  6. Nick Sundin

    September 12, 2013 at 16:19

    Funny the next David Villa should be called Paco, I had a regen called Paco this year who was a ST/AML, Spanish, and beast :)

    • Ana Garcia

      September 16, 2013 at 11:15

      Glad you managed to find the new David Villa! :)

  7. pedro fontan

    September 13, 2013 at 16:39

    Another great article Ana!!!; Really enjoyable read
    I have to say the history of Spanish football is one with a bright future as you pointed out. But this can only happen if the clubs invest in promoting these talents. You mentioned Inigo Martinez who to me is exactly what a centre back should be, hard working, dedicated, good at tackling and brave. But I think you said something very right. I think if he had come through from Real Or Valencia he would not have had ad many opportunities to be a key player . One player you mentioned who I really like is Hugo Mallo. I have always liked Celta (from the days the day they had Mostovoi and Karpin who I loved watching those crazy Russians :D) so to see them invest in their youth is very good. Shame Aspas had to leave but was inevitable. I wish we could say that the future is as bright in Portugal but unfortunately our clubs prefer to spend big money abroad rather than develop our own. And even though I hate Sporting CP I admire them for developing their young talented players

    Oh and by the way that is the proper Iberian way to celebrate anything. No glasses. Although I prefer beer ;)

    • Ana Garcia

      September 16, 2013 at 11:23

      Thanks Pedro, am really glad you enjoyed reading it. :)

      Is true, maybe if things had been different with money these players would be forgotten. However I guess teams have seen this as the best way forward as we cant afford to buy players and wages so to find your own players in the youth system is so cost effective.

      Look as Navas, Illarramendi Javi Martinez etc All through academies and then all sold for huge profit to help produce the next generation of Spanish players I guess the relaxed transfer rules in Portugal make it easier to sign foreign talent than produce home grown which is a shame.

      Ha! The best way to drink! But beer tastes bad and makes you fat, red wine is much better for you! ;)

  8. Chai Chien Liang

    September 30, 2013 at 04:16

    Great article Ana, but somehow I think you forgot to mention the goalkeepers! You know, like David De Gea (I don’t know if Asenjo is considered young now considering that he is 24!) though apart from them I do not really hear many names for goalkeepers (which is not too bad considering you only need one or two really :P)

    I would like to mention Moi Gomez from Villareal too, he looks like a future world beater!

    • Ana Garcia

      November 8, 2013 at 19:08

      Oh sorry missed your reply, my apologies!

      True! Is so many names I could mention but still with Casillas, Valdes , and Reina with De Gea is the next main goalkeeper I agree.

      Asenjo was a talent but it seems his career has turned a little down to injury but still has some time, look at Diego Lopez! :)

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