Posts Tagged ‘Lyon’

Real Madrid and Barcelona: in need of urgent help

March 14, 2010

The Real Madrid futbol team was eliminated from the European Cup during the round prior to the quarterfinals, something that after the 300 million Euros spent by the team to strengthen its roster has given rise to a real earthquake of complaints from fans.  Their dreams of a Champions finale at the Bernabéu stadium have been destroyed.

The team had lost 1-0 to Lyon during a previous game in France.  Nevertheless, after their incredible comeback during their game against Sevilla only a few days before (where they were losing 2-0 at home, and ended up winning 3-2, literally at the last minute), many thought that the European qualifying round was in Real Madrid’s hands.

However, Lyon fought like a lion and ended up tying the game 1-1, classifying for the next round.  Pjanic, the Lyon player who scored their goal, said that “we were motivated by the Madrid’s arrogant comments to the press before the game,” regarding the comments by some Real Madrid players about the many goals they were going to score against Lyon.

Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid’s defender, an exceptional player who had scored one of the goals against Sevilla, predicted confidently that the team would win 3-0 against Lyon.  After the game, when the teams were on their way to the locker rooms, there was a strong verbal confrontation between several Lyon players and Sergio Ramos.  You don’t need to be too creative to guess what the Lyon players told him.  “Arrogant,” “you had to eat your words,” “thanks for motivating us,” who knows what where the exact words, but it’s clear that the conversation must have been along those lines.

The Real Madrid has one of the best rosters in the world.  It is, at least on paper, clearly a better team than Lyon.  Even so, it lost.  And the Lyon players said they went out to the field in a great mental frame of mind in large part because they were disrespected and categorized as losers even before playing the game. 

Once again this shows the non-existent training given to the best professional athletes to deal with the media.  The last thing they want to do is to raise their opponent’s morale, strengthen their resolve.  Giving them more of a reason to fight tooth and nail to the last second of the game.  Still, many athletes constantly make these incredible mistakes.  And later it’s their team that has to pay the consequences.  In addition to being a sport, futbol is clearly a big business.  This loss means a real moral and economic defeat.  Tickets, souvenir sales, sponsors, television rights, their international image.  The Real Madrid has stopped making a significant additional amount of money.

How is it possible that these players are not trained to know how to behave with the press?  How is it possible that they’re not told what they can’t say about an opponent, especially in the European Cup, where even the worst team is among the best in the world?  How is it that the players are not expected to sign a “style book” about which things can’t be said so as not to harm the team’s interests and image?  And if they are trained, how is it possible that these mistakes are made over and over again?

It’s not about curtailing a player’s freedom of expression.  It’s about the player knowing what not to say so as not to affect the team negatively, as we have clearly seen here.

Now the Real Madrid will have to watch the most important competition in Europe from home and on television.

But, have other players or teams learned from these mistakes?  The answer is no because the most recent example of this behavior was made by a player from the Real Madrid’s archenemy, FC Barcelona.

This Sunday, the Barcelona was hosting the very dangerous Valencia team.  And what did Rafa Márquez, Barcelona’s defender decide to say?  That “without Villa they aren’t that dangerous.”  He was referring to one of the best forwards in the world, David Villa.  The Valencia player finally couldn’t play in Barcelona due to a shoulder injury.

What reaction can Márquez expect to his comments?  Naturally, that the other Valencia players become even more motivated to show that, with or without Villa, they can give Barcelona a big scare.

In the end, Barcelona won authoritatively, but the Valencia team didn’t make it easy for them and fought forcefully and with character.  The first half ended tied 0-0 and the Valencia played better, getting close to goals several times.

I’m still surprised to see how top-level athletes such as Sergio Ramos and Rafael Márquez don’t understand how the media works (those comments will be on the front page of the sports publications because they will add fuel to the fire and will, therefore, sell more papers) nor are they trained to prevent these mistakes.

Media training isn’t only for business leaders, politicians, experts or academicians, but also for athletes. In addition to the team pride and sports angle, what drives the business of sports is too important to make such mistakes. These teams and athletes will have enough challenges on their way to winning to, in addition, look for additional problems that not only will make a win harder, but could seriously damage their team’s finances.

Advertisements