Wednesday, 14 July 2010

missed narratives

Normally commentators and pundits are desperate to stitch together any kind of narrative they can from the frequently random events of football history. A player only has to return to a former club for the first time for someone like Clive Tyldesley or Martin Tyler to near-hyperventilate at the prospect of him scoring a revenge goal. Up will go the cry of 'What a story!', as if a new set-piece has been added to some kind of Homeric epic.

To my surprise, a few went relatively unnoticed on Sunday night. Arjen Robben for example ended up on the losing side of club football's biggest game as well as international football's within a matter of weeks. Vicente Del Bosque must now be one of the most successful managers, year-for-year, in the history of the game. In four years at Real Madrid he won two leagues and two European Cups. In two years with Spain he's won the World Cup.

Perhaps most extraordinary of all is Gerard Pique's run of success since the 2007/08 season.

2007/08: with Man Utd – Premier League, Champions League
2008/09: with Barca – Copa del Rey, La Liga, Champions League
2009/10: with Barca – UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, La Liga
with Spain – World Cup

Few players have ever enjoyed such a run – Bixente Lizarazu was, I think a simultaneous Bundesliga, German Cup, European and World champion in 2001 – but at 23, Pique must be among the youngest.

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