EACH country has its very own unique culture. There’re some similarities between them but they are still very different. It concerns everything: music, literature or football. That’s why losing your cultural identity is the worst thing that can happen to a person, or to a football club.
When you listen to commentators or pundits you often hear comparisons between different football cultures and how one is better or more right in terms of football than the other.
Which I find as far from the truth as possible. There’s no such thing as the right or the wrong way to play football. There’s only a style that’s more suited to your team. And largely it depends on your team’s culture.
To win La Liga you need to have Spanish cultural qualities. Flair. Acting in a way; the ability to make a show. That’s what the best Spanish teams have. Fans demand performances and that’s exactly what they are given. A show. But I don’t think that any other match apart from el Classico attracts much interest around the world. It’s a great show to see Barcelona or Real Madrid winning by three or four, week in week out but there’s no intrigue. Apart from the top scorers.
To win Bundesliga you need to have discipline, organisation and physical strength. Look at any German team. Being six foot tall seems to be a minimum requirement. It never means that they just hoof it long but they lack Spanish flair to say the least. Ozil seems to be the only German who has different qualities – maybe because he’s not German but Turkish.
South Americans have their unique style. Their football is very much like samba. Dance, fun, entertainment. A carnival of a game which is great to watch. But they lack tactical discipline and when they play against a well drilled defence they seem to lack ideas.
I can go on about every major league in the world. They all have their qualities and they all are great to watch. But they are nowhere near Barclays Premier League. The greatest show on Earth.
Man City won the Premier League with the last touch of the season. Man Utd have won the championship on a regular basis by digging out results. Take the four latest English Champions League successes. Man Utd comeback in 1999. Liverpool’s Istanbul heroics. Drama in all-English Moscow final. And last season’s Chelsea’s battling victory over Germans in Germany. English teams have played in 7 out of last 8 CL Finals. They surely had talent, flair and skill in abundance but it wasn’t what brought them glory. It was their Englishness.
That’s why Brendan Rodgers can’t forget that no matter how much Spanish-like Allen is, no matter how much flair Sahin’s got or ‘tiki-taka-ish’ the style is, without the battling spirit of British guys like Gerrard and Carragher, he’ll win nothing. That’s the rule of the league he operates in. And losing Englishness (even, Britishness) is as good as saying goodbye to any chance of being remembered as a winner.