Spanish Number 1 Investigation
By Senor Service
Updated Saturday, 27th February 2010
Our correspondent in Spain continues to get the inside knowledge on the best Spain can offer for EURO2012
Still here in Southern Spain and the hot news is that; the rain has stopped; the sun is shining; and football remains the national passion.
The slightest piece of news here about football or footballers tends to get more coverage in the news than any other issue. The 30 or so microphones thrust in the Managers’ faces as they announce some trivial training ground incident or injury shows what an industry surrounds the game here.
Sponsorship is down to a fine art on these occasions with some teams using rotating adverts on a small screen immediately in front of the microphones at any formal press conference.
Players are of course no different advertising every product you can think of.
In between commercials which can run for 15 minutes at a time at half time in some televised games (happily with no half time banter from pundits in the studio) I was watching Real Madrid versus Xerez recently. As I recall all three goals resulted finally from the goalkeeper being in a one on one with the provider or scorer.
In each case the goalkeeper stayed on his feet and tried to tackle the attacker like a defender, on none of the three times did he drop or spread himself to make the cross ball or pass more difficult and this ended always with him left in no mans land as the ball hit the net.
What was equally surprising was that no one from the coaching staff "had a word" as it were to advise the goalkeeper to change his tactics, nor did it occur to the player himself that perhaps trying to tackle Kaka in full flow was not the best approach from a player that is allowed to use his hands to get the ball.
However to be fair, diving at a striker’s feet does come with it’s risks and as we all know, a crack on the skull can result in a career threatening injury. Chelsea’s Cech now has to wear a protective head guard for all games and often looks like a first world war pilot missing only the goggles to finish the full effect.
That must have been in the Goalkeeper’s mind on all 3 occasions that such an injury could thereafter could do serious damage to his ability..…to get a shampoo sponsor.
I have been told here that most Spaniards are not fussed about their international team and they only got excited when in tournaments their team reach the quarter final stages, (Scotland should be so lucky!)
In my continuing researches at Pepe’s I excelled myself by staying in the Bar till 3.00 a.m. last Friday, there was some alcohol consumed I admit but of course the reason for the long hours put in was that it took that long for me to ask and mime my way through asking who was Spain’s number 1, number 1!
As mentioned most reverted to thinking I was interested in the best goalie in Spain, whereas I was of course asking or trying to ask who was the best goalie who is Spanish!
After much confusion the consensus was that Casilla was far and away the best of the crop. I seemed to remember him from a few years ago when he broke into the team very young, so I asked whether he "joven?" (young)-response "Si", and was he "Rubio?" (blond) I continued "Si" again.
They were the only words I recalled for determining his skills after that I mimed to find out if he was "moy bien" (very good) at: high balls; low strikes; acrobatic; instinctive, agile; penalties; corners - all conveyed by me miming as best I could to the by then four people in the Bar. In each case the answer was "Si" but I am inclined to think the were responding to Pepe asking them quietly while I pranced around trying to mime a penalty shoot out, "Es loco no?", "Si".
I wanted to know who was second choice but they thought I had moved on to numero 2 as in full back, once that was clarified I was told to speak to an expert who would be at Pepe’s the next day at 2.00, happily in the afternoon not morning. I arrived but he had just left, a well. More soon of equal flippancy.
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
Admin Team (admin@scottishfitba net)
This is Scottish-Fitba.Net