One League, the same rival. La Liga was always an endurance race that runs through all seasons. A long time that attenuates the luck factor and exalts merit. But this year the word resistance falls short and we must talk about survival. Without preseason to shore up the physical, without fans to strengthen the epic and with the virus complicating the economy and threatening life, this League confirms football as a dramatic show. The best we can hope for is that the end of a match compensates for the accumulated suffering. Simeone’s career celebrating the end of the match against Real contained more relief than joy. When a distraction or mistake can cost the championship, it’s easier to get distracted or make mistakes. Anguish lives in that fine line. All applicants are the same because they play against the same rival: fear.
The cultural capital. Madrid is still alive after many emotional blows, with tired players and homegrown players to replace the substitutes. It’s like trying to win the war with rust-covered sabers, old rifles, and jammed cannons … Still, it retains an air of competitive grandeur that comes from the bottom of its history, although for many it is like believing in the wise men. But it works. In that already stellar dressing room the old legends still inhabit that, from Di Stéfano to here, left a legacy entitled “Madrid never surrenders.” In all clubs there is a tacit agreement on which history works. In Madrid, that gravitational force prefers personalities like Molowny’s, if we go too far back, Del Bosque does less, Zidane now and Raúl in the future. Competitive but discreet people with solid values learned at the club.
Links of legend. This week Miguel Gutiérrez and Marvin appeared in Madrid, homegrown players who were up to the task. During the season they were under the command of Raúl, that footballer who looked like the anthem of Madrid playing football and who today turned the action into a clear message. The boys were squeezed to the max. They received comfort, teachings, and demands when they lost; congratulations, teachings and more demanding when they won. In a year they matured a lot and will reach the first team with the great cliché of the club in their blood: “We don’t give up.” That is the cultural chain whose last links are represented by Zidane and Raúl and that the club must try not to break. All this to say that waiting to see if Madrid is champion or not to give the team a grade is mean. They played, fought and competed well above expectations and were worthy of the club. History says that this is also called triumph.
Like Pedri for his house. The season discovered us a crack. In football, things have a secret order that I could not explain. But time taught me who violates that order and who perfects it. I know, for example, that Pedri is always right. That he does what must be done, that the speed of interpretation is always just right, that what the game has of science, his foot knows it from top to bottom. It also dazzles with the imbalance of the dribble. But his intelligence serves, above all, to harmonize. He makes football a collective matter, as if with passes he was joining a dotted line with a logic that only he knows, but which makes football a game understandable to everyone. He has a relaxed career, as if the game were easy, and an algorithmic head with a predictive knowledge that always finds the best option. If Barça’s season needs a consolation, it’s called Pedri.