Thursday, September 21, 2006

David Albelda believes the Spanish team is too divided and wants to tell the world

Oh, Albelda. You're a great captain for Valencia and so I try to like you, but then you have to go and say things like this.

"Whether Luis Aragones is there or not, it will be very difficult to achieve anything because there is no unity, in fact it is more like disunity," Albelda told Radio Valencia.

"Now people are asking for a change to the players: Carlos Marchena, Juanito, Michel Salgado, Raul and me.

"It seems we are the ones to blame for the failure at the World Cup even though we rarely played."

"The players and the fans are disillusioned. The fans identify more with their clubs, as do the players."

I thought the point was that Aragones forced Raul into a 4-3-3 that was perfectly fine without him for the France game - which was the one they lost? Also his general cluelessness about how to use the numerous world-class central midfielders Spain were fortunate enough to have at their disposal?

Albelda's right about the tendency for fans to call for the dumping of older players because they think the new kid on the block will make a difference - it's a silly, knee-jerk thing a lot of the time, and experience is very useful in big tournaments.

Everyone knows that the Spanish NT has always had divisions amongst the ranks on a club-based level. In fact, from what I'd heard it was better this year than in the past because there were no strongly and loudly opinionated politicals in the squad. It is clear, though, that the elder Real Madrid and Valencia players in particular are in a clique of their own, especially if you saw Raul shrugging off Luis Garcia to go celebrate with the benched Albelda and Santi Canizares when he scored (now there's a rare occurance these days) against Tunisia at the World Cup. The (current and former) Barca players - Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas - seem to be in their own little group, but I don't know how much of a clique they are.

On the whole, it seems more of a generation gap problem between the elder players who are all familiar with each other and younger ones coming up through the youth teams. I don't really see how complaining about disunity and hinting at the responsible group is going to help restore unity to the team.

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