Is Luis Enrique a hipster, a criminal, or a walking galaxy brain?
A few words on Spain's Euro squad
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There was once a boy named Nacho. He was a nice boy. He was born three years after a boy named Kiyan, some 8000 kilometres away. That last sentence has absolutely no relevancy to the story.
Nacho grew up. He played football. He was unheralded for many years, but loved his club, Real Madrid, and kept working humbly for a place on the team. For years, he sacrificed being a starter at another club, and was happy to fill in whenever — and wherever — he was needed by his manager.
Throughout his mini cameos, he impressed and improved. Until 2015, Nacho never played more than 1, 000 minutes at the top flight. Then, in the 2015 - 2016 season, he played 1, 160 minutes. The season after, that number jumped to 2,306. In that 2016 - 2017 season, Nacho had a + / - of 46, which was the ninth best mark in the entire league. In football, + / - is largely not as great a measuring stick as it is in basketball — but Nacho’s that season stands out because he played mostly with Real Madrid’s bench unit which obliterated so many teams in La Liga. The Spaniard was a lynchpin in Real Madrid’s defense, and there was no significant drop off from Sergio Ramos / Raphael Varane to Nacho in that season, which is absurd to even type.
Fast forward to present day, and Nacho is just as important. He and Eder Militao held down Real Madrid’s defense as the entire Real Madrid backline was eviscerated with injuries this season. It was a remarkable output, and Nacho, undoubtedly, was one of the best Spanish center-backs on earth.
San Mames, Sunday May 16th, 2021
Spanish national team coach Luis Enrique travelled to San Mames, wearing a beanie to tuck in his dreadlocks. His glasses were non-prescription, with clear frames.
With eyes glued, he watched Nacho score the winning goal for Real Madrid against Athletic Club while coming away with several good defensive reads as he continued his great season.
Enrique stayed silent, unmoved, undeterred — cold-blooded. At the final whistle, he took the top off his pen, and with a swift movement, put ink to paper, writing just one word:
And now we have to ask. ¿Por qué?
I will just ask a question to which I hope one day to get a response: Why? Why? Why Eric Garcia? Why Diego Llorente? Why did you leave 2 spots open? Who is your starting right-back? Why? Because every selection the same things happen. We are talking about an absolutely fantastic football team, so why do you need to do it this way? Why? Why does a team as good as Spain need something [extra] that is so obvious that everyone sees it?
Why did you tell Ramos he didn’t play enough if Eric Garcia is in the team? Why is Marcos Llorente going to play right-back when he’s one of the best attacking midfielders in Spain? You’re trying to perform a miracle. A miracle. Even without Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez, the right-back position for Spain is deep. Why not take any of them? Where does this power come from?
We will go to the Euros with pride and respect for football. It is a world that sometimes disgusts me to live in and earn a living from, but it is my world. We have to go there without Nacho, who didn't do anything, without Ramos who did nothing. It is impossible. And if we score a goal and open up the tie a little, they will just kill it again. Tonight we have seen that we do not have any chance.
Luis Enrique is a fantastic coach, but I have won two FIFA EA Shields. He has beaten a terrible Germany and that is one that would embarrass me. I would be ashamed to have won it, and if he wins it this year, it will be with the scandal of the Euros. I hope that one day he can win a proper Euro. Deep down, if he is a good person, it cannot taste right for him. I hope one day Luis Enrique has the chance of winning a brilliant, clean championship with no scandal.
Oh yeah, so how do I transition this from football to not about football? Heregoes:
Someone asked me how I stay motivated to do my job everyday, and I made a video about it, which I published today:
This is part of a new series I’m doing, where I answer non-football related football questions. Enjoy.