But in today’s football, challenges are unattractive. Take for example, the situation of Pep Guardiola, after he departed Barcelona. He took a year off, and I had the hope that Pep, a seemingly intelligent a deep personality, and surely with enough money not to make decisions based on that, would have chosen an important challenge. As he could choose his destination, I hoped he would chose something a little more difficult, like making Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton or even (god forbid) Tottenham champions, or to take charge of Napoli or Lazio in Italy, or Eintracht or Monchengladbach in Germany. Really put himself to the test. Exceed expectation. Challenge himself.
When Chelsea and City were mentioned as possible destinations, I thought that if Guardiola chose one of them, it would confirm him as a fraud. With all the money available, it would be no achievement whatever he may have won with them. It would be the easy, yet empty, route. Bayern Munich does not represent quite such an easy route, but it is the next best thing. A team that are already German champions, finalists of the champions league, and European champions on a few occasions already, and with boundless resources. For me it’s no great or complicated challenge, and by taking the job, Pep has gone down in my estimation.
Elite players today don’t really like a challenge either. It’s much more important that the current account in bulging. I understand that. But now, as I’ve explained in previous blogs, the child that wants to play each and every day and all day, doesn’t exist amongst professional footballers. There is a new type of player, a player that, knowing they will be on the bench at best or just part of sparring for training at worst, sign for the big money team. Wouldn’t it be better to play? Play in a midtable side, and have a couple of thousand less per week in the bank?
A lot of people make Real Murcia’s situation out to be very negative, at least in terms of player’s contractual situations. It could be the case. But it could also be part of that unique challenge.
The loanees have the challenge of making themselves known. The player reaching the end of their careers, the challenge to finish off well and leave good memories. The home-grown talent, the challenge to grow in their club and become real professionals. The player criticized the challenge the close mouths. The challenge to owners the Samper brothers, to run this club in the right way for once. Put themselves to the test. Exceed expectation. Self-challenge.
And all of us that form part of this Real Murcia….players, directors, fans, have the challenge to prove all the doubters wrong, those that already say “I told you so”, boo the team and come predisposed to be negative. The preachers of doom, even though we still have half a season to go, half a season of challenges, complicated but part of that unique challenge that is Real Murcia.