Spanish football has a problem


The eliminations of Barcelona, ​​Atlético and Sevilla highlight the League’s loss of competitiveness in the wider Europe, especially in the last two seasons

The league teams’ decline in the European Cup is undeniable and while it’s been apparent for a few years now, this season’s mockery is absolute. To put it in context a bit, it’s the first time in history that three Spanish teams have left the Champions League at the first opportunity. A fact that emerged after it was confirmed a day in advance that Barcelona, ​​Atlético and Sevilla had been removed from the top club competition in the Old Continent.

A comment that clearly summarizes the lack of competitiveness of the Spanish teams today compared to that of other major leagues: four German teams, four English and three Italians qualified for the round of 16 of this Champions League. The League only contributes one, Real Madrid, the current champions. In reality, after England’s, the Spanish teams are the ones with the best percentage to overcome the group stage in the last ten years. In concrete terms, during that period, the national teams passed the first screening in 84% of the cases, compared to 86% of the English, 73% of the Germans and 65% of the Italians.

In the past two seasons, however, this figure has fallen alarmingly, to the point that only 37% of teams in the League have made it through the first round, compared to, say, 100% of English clubs. Therefore, despite the fact that Spain has historically triumphed in the highest European competition, the most recent parameters reflect a significant downturn.

The most worrying case is that of Barcelona. Xavi’s team, which shook up the latest transfer market with integrations across all lines of the field, has failed miserably for the second consecutive season. Aside from the group of deaths, the Catalan team has only been able to win the double showdown against Viktoria Pilsen in the six matches of the first stage, eliminating any possible excuse.

It represents the fifth group stage elimination in its history and the second time it has fallen before playing the final match of the first stage, the first being in 1997. Seven years have passed since the azulgranas conquered the Champions League in Berlin. Only a few semi-finals against Liverpool since, and with a comeback for the infamous culé memory, and several fateful nights in Rome, Munich, Lisbon and Turin, leaving a very bad baggage for such an important entity.

Atletico, meanwhile, confirmed with their defeat to Do Dragao that they will not play in any European competition this season, not even the Europa League. An unthinkable situation to see his group fairly equal, but in which the colchoneros started a priori as favourites. Just a win, ‘in extremis’ against Porto at home, and the feeling of not having participated in some of those matches. Compete, the hallmark of Cholo’s, and that they have lost over the seasons. The last time they fell into the group stage, in 2018, they won the Europa League.

The mattresses have gone from playing the quarter-finals against Manchester City to seeing themselves in November without the Champions League or Europa League and nine points behind the League leader. To top it off, the European shutdown will also take its toll financially. The mattresses will no longer receive around €20 million in revenue from these competitions, a very delicate situation for a club still suffering the effects of the pandemic and which may have to sell players after the World Cup to clear its accounts .

On another step is Seville. The Sevilla team is not a historic Champions League, but their favorite competition is the Europa League, which they have won up to six times. This season he was eliminated in a difficult group with Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, but at least he has made a pass to his most precious tournament.

The pronounced decline of Spanish football in Europe has also coincided with Seville’s remarkable decline. The Andalusian team, in relegation positions in the League, is facing a worrying crisis. Like Barcelona and Atlético, Sevilla will also be hit by the economic consequences of the group stage dropout. Pepe Castro, the chairman, believes that “the stick is less after securing the Europa League.”

Real Madrid, the only survivor

Real Madrid is the exception that proves the rule. It is the only Spanish team still competing in the Champions League and therefore getting the chance to make up for this more-than-obvious Spanish decline with its actions in Europe.

For several seasons now, and with the exception of last season’s epic Villarreal, the Whites have been the only ones to regularly make the decisive knockout matches in the Champions League and save the LaLiga brand.

On one occasion, he didn’t deserve the game, but his competitive gene and his mystique drive everyone away. But if that European Cup meringue idyll fails, the League and Spanish football will face a very serious problem. The Premier, Bundesliga and Serie A have knocked the Spaniards out this season and previous seasons, and only a deep reflection from the leaders will prevent this circumstance from being repeated in years to come.

Source: La Verdad


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