We all know how to win a European Championship – or a World Cup, if we get ambitious – but the various coaches we have met consistently refuse to listen to us. “It’s mean,” a friend tells me after carefully studying the fire caused by Luis Enrique when he revealed his call. We continued the conversation, astonished by the vehemence of some criticisms and ended it by suggesting alternatives to name the next tenant of the great national throne, including a pure draw among those Spaniards registered as such before January 1 of this year. “We are geniuses,” he concedes. And I, of course, second it.
Sometimes I think that the great charm of football lies in its infinite capacity to allow us to confirm our worst suspicions. This is a sport that we approach as children, with enthusiasm, tender and impressionable, but which with the passage of time is dirtying our character to the point of accepting a defeat of ours as good in exchange for a thunderous “I already have it. I said “: that should be the first verse in the hypothetical lyrics of the national anthem. Perhaps it has always been this way, but it seems clear that the heyday of social networks has contributed to the climate of apocalyptic predictions and a priori disasters in which the only incontestable reality that occurs to me is involved: our selection is freedom disguised as communism or, In other words, the most absolute individualism travestied as a common interest.
Some of this we began to suspect the day that Luis Aragonés left Raúl out of La Roja, if not before. The possibilities of the national team came to depend on our affiliations and our phobias, that our particular heroes were present and the number of players contributed by our teams to the calls, an impeccable translation of ignorance and follow-through into the field of statistics. “In what world does he live?”, The front page of a well-known newspaper was asked, referring to Luis Aragonés, back in 2008. Good old Luis must have asked himself the same thing – “in what world do I live?” a man who knew the guts of Spanish football best and did not hesitate to park his own nature to reinvent ourselves as a product and give us at least one chance. Something similar is happening to Luis Enrique, with the aggravation that several million Spaniards have plenty of technical resources and free time, but we still lack humility and some memory.
The Asturian grew up in a dressing room, was a major player in the two greats of Spanish football and has an enviable track record as a coach. I repeated two courses at BUP and last week I was fired as a Pontevedra CF manager in the Football Manager. I mean with this that my opinion matters – it matters to me, come on – but it never hurts to take a minute to reflect on the distance between being the national coach and believing the infallible of the people. Luis Enrique and his men can afford to lose the next European Championship without our approval, but it would not be pleasant if they won it despite us: Spain could break, we will see that, but not for the pure whim of Sergio Ramos lifting another drink.