Real Madrid – La Liga The opinion of Roberto Palomar
Football isn’t an essential activity. It doesn’t have to be played no matter what, at any time on any day. You can’t try to get to Miranda de Ebro in the middle of a storm, as happened with Rayo Vallecano. You can’t drive 470 kilometres and back, as happened with Unionistas going from Salamanca to El Ferrol. You can’t try to land at a frozen airport, as happened with Athletic Club. You can’t fly to Pamplona with the uncertainty of Barajas Airport potentially closing, as happened with Real Madrid. You can’t forcé players out of their houses when the cars can’t go, as happened with Getafe.
No, there’s no law that Real Madrid have to play, or Athletic Club or anyone else. Essential workers are hospital workers and the like. That’s why medical staff crossed a frozen capital on foot to reach their jobs and fulfil their shifts. These are the kinds of situations that require extraordinary responses. Those who do this are the heroes. But, going to play a football match shouldn’t have to cross reasonable boundaries or become a heroic act.
Once a football match starts… it’s not a huge sacrifice to have been sat for four hours inside a private plane. It’s uncomfortable, but only that. It’s not normal to have a team in such conditions. It’s also not essential to link this setback or an icy pitch with playing a poor game of football. That’s exactly what Zinedine Zidane did after drawing at Osasuna. He didn’t even look like an upset coach. He looked like he’d stayed at the terminal.
Zidane was mistaken. Once the referee blows the whistle, there are no excuses or justifications to explain such a poor performance from Real Madrid at El Sadar. Firstly, there’s the almost null impact of Zidane in how the game develops, with the coach making changes that were hardly productive and with the team continuing to languish. This has been seen before this season when they’ve faced a team who’ve say with two well-organised defensive lines. This is a problem time and time again and neither Zidane nor the players have found a solution.
Away from the sporting elements of a football match, the club seem to be comfortable with the outside noise that accompanies Florentino Perez and the European Super League idea. Everything that helps to build a narrative away from LaLiga is seen as comfortable for the club. From the idea of VAR being biased to the suggestion that commentators are too to the timetables to the weather to the travel logistics to the complaints about El Sadar not being a perfect carpet… Through propaganda, Perez is carving out the feeling that Real Madrid could leave Spanish football at any moment. Situations like this one from Pamplona cost two points in the table, but also add to the cause that the president officially launched at the club’s general assembly.
In Perez‘s Super League, there won’t be snow because all the stadiums have a retractable roof. There are no Osasunas. There’s no Javier Tebas following them and inconveniencing them. There are only champions and some sheiks who you can get along with. If they could leave this league where it only snows like this once every 50 years, they’d do it tomorrow.