Friday, September 22, 2023

the ace and the monkey

Once the julep has been given to the League, it’s time to sing the forty in Europe. As we said, Ancelotti has achieved a record that is difficult to match: winning the five major regular European competitions as a coach. And this last one, in addition, must have tasted like glory. Because being champion so early and with such a difference in points is another unique achievement in the autumn of his life, especially in a club of such enormous importance as Real Madrid.

Another sanbenito has also been shaken. This time, spring has flourished exuberantly and without the allergic fatigue that characterized his teams. If we add the fact that his second is his own son, we can ensure that it is difficult for anyone in this stormy soccer world to be happier. From here to a retirement as golden as it is deserved, it is only a short distance. The conjunction of occasional stars that have made so many achievements possible is difficult to repeat. And to that wisdom they should adjust himself and the railing of him Pérez of him.

That Benzema has surely played the best season of his life, when by natural law he is approaching the last stretch of his career. That Courtois has become the best goalkeeper in the world after so many years trying. That Vinicius, finally, set out on the path to stardom. That Modric finds in his last moons the validation of his ballon d’or. That Militao and Alaba, in that order, have outshone Ramos and Varane. Or that even the darkened Rodrygo appears in extremis to vindicate himself at Real and, incidentally, knock on the door of the chosen ones, are realities that mixed with the necessary luck of the champion give birth to a winning team of fifteen in the squad and few more like clappers , which could be legendary if, on top of that, he throws Guardiola and his millioneti City out of the Champions League. On the way to that leads the Madrid of the Italian bonancible and bailongo.

Where are those who predicted a few weeks ago that there would be a League? Where are those who claimed that Barça would be a few points behind Madrid? And who talked about flowers or luck? And the unrepentant anti-Madridistas who mix bile with aftertaste, resentment and hatred? Surely, they are hiding behind their impotence hoping that on Wednesday, finally, another black beast of the whites will humiliate them at the Bernabéu. But it would have been the other way around, with similar arguments against it, if the others had pressed and the whites were on the road to sorrow. But this season, Real Madrid is a very just and brilliant champion. And there is other evidence. In football, who assures something, in reality, harbors many doubts. Hence the convenience of relativizing and leaving the blinders on.

The other day, at the presentation of “When September matures,” my first novel, I had the satisfaction that a friend like Antonio Sánchez Carrillo, with whom I share soccer confidences, assured the attendees, for reasons that are irrelevant, that also reading myself on soccer issues it is difficult to know if I am a merengón or a culé. And that’s the key. It is not about equidistance, but about balance. Exercise I try when you can look at it from different angles. All preferences are respectable, but balancing on such a fine wire should be the obligation of those who aspire to spread ideas.

Writing, speaking or influencing from a trench against our ghosts, who always accompany us on the path of life, is vain, puerile and even grotesque, as well as unfair and ill-advised because of myopia. But it’s just an opinion.

Returning to our business, Real Madrid has accelerated when its followers have caught a bird as inappropriate as it is surprising. Sevilla, Atlético and Barça seem determined that Betis throw any of them off the podium, and we are in that fight. Not only is it not disposable, but it seems the safest thing to do. And in such a hangover, Lopetegui, Simeone and even Xavi can foot the bill. Football has those things when a few weeks ago they seemed like demigods among their fans. The Basque thing was sung; the Argentine may be in his mattress twilight; and the Catalan can sing goodbye when he still echoes his exciting hello. Meanwhile, Pellegrini also combs cards.

Ancelotti wears the luminous ace and the monkey. As he paints the king and the horse of gold on Wednesday in front of Professor Guardiola, he is going to sing the 40 to more than one. Funny tute, sorry.


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