Small World, great news
The merit is to participate in the Club World Cup, but when the time comes, the threat of defeat weighs more than the illusion of triumph. The European club that wins the World Cup is unharmed, the one that loses it risks a total loss. The force of perception decides it that way. TOl Madrid served to renew a sense of achievement which is vital for the trust that is lacking. In addition, the championship added Marcos Llorente to the cause, a more and not less resource; already Gareth Bale as star, so improved that he even congratulated us on Christmas in Castilian. Finally he confirmed us as coach to Santiago Solari, because with Mourinho returned to unemployment and a journalism with the sense of the show excited by such news, a title reinforces much more than a contract.
How to get out of oblivion
Those who believe that there is no reason for a soccer player not to run the ninety minutes, they have an idol in Marcos Llorente. I, on the other hand, think that it should be a little quiet to be a more stable reference. But I am one more of the surrendered before the exhibition that football compensated with a goal in the World Cup Final. Marcos was showered with genes and advice from the Gentos, the Gross and the Llorentes, but the effort was his alone. For a year and a half we did not know if he was up to the task because he never enjoyed the essential five straight games that are needed to define a player. It was a lost time for those who made decisions, not for him. He trained like a Marine, he cared for himself like a monk and he knew how to wait like a man. When his turn came, he played giving a recital of professionalism.
Enter Spain by Vitoria had a first consequence: I love Basque football. I admire the nobility and courage without boasting of their players. There is an austere purity in his stories that manages to impress me. He says Iribar that, on the way to Bilbao after winning a Copa del Rey, the villagers greeted the bus Athletic raising the hoe and find in the story something profound that moves me. In the delicious book "My grandmother and ten more", Ander Izaguirre tells that he goes to Anoeta as who performs a ritual. Nearby sits Gorriz, another citizen with a particularity, it is the player who played the most matches with Real Sociedad (599). He wears a Real scarf around his neck and everyone looks at it as a legend deserves, but without bothering him. One day an old man passed by his side who could not resist the temptation and said: "Aúpa Gorriz". A Basque tribute. Without so much host.
It hurts me to see Athletic flirting with the descent, surrendered as I was always to his respect for identity and his way of living football. When he was 20 years old, he was going to see, with his foot and with a sandwich, the UEFA Cup matches in old San Mamés. Since I was the only foreigner who played in the Basque Country, I felt like someone breaking something. That did not affect the admiration he felt for the imposing and sober figure of Iribar or for the elegant skill of Red Chechu. And above all, for the delivery of a generous hobby that seemed interchangeable with the players. Any of the young people they encouraged could be playing and anyone who played could be encouraging. The purity of that identification is still intact and I think that the great football is a little healthier if the Athletic, true to its history, continues in first.