Spain’s World Cup campaign has been a refreshing journey for many so far, with the atmosphere seemingly light in the camp and confidence high. In no small part that is down to Luis Enrique, whose entertaining Twitch streams have been enjoyed by many.
However it is also noticeable just how unusual that atmosphere is. The culture of severe and serious football teams pervades and that is partly down to the environment that they are in.
Speaking to Sid Lowe in The Guardian, Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte declared that he feels that what occurs on the field of play has little to do with everything that surrounds it.
“I love playing football, really love it, but it’s everything that goes around it,” he says. Asked if the press are part of that, Laporte agreed.
“That too. It’s a bit of everything. I don’t know. I’ve always played football because I’ve always loved it; it’s my passion. But what matters on the pitch isn’t always reflected away from football. And that could annoy me. It doesn’t reach the point where it annoys me because I don’t even look, I don’t read. The less I watch the better.”
He went on to explain that ever since he started playing football, he has felt irritated by the noise next to it.
“There’s so much talk, so many opinions. An example: after a game, one says: ‘He was terrible.’ Another says: ‘He was the best.’ It doesn’t bother me because I don’t even see it. What annoys footballers isn’t direct criticism; we’re used to it. It’s the family, the friends. So many people who haven’t played talk and they’re more influential than the players themselves. And you see [former] footballers who say things that if other players had done it [about them] they would get annoyed. Lots of people getting involved, talking, you know?”
Laporte’s frustrations are understandable and some would say natural in his position. Despite the fact everything is recorded and available online now, there is increasingly less accountability for comment in football.
While football players are given media training, have teammates with whom they can share the pressure, and are prepared for that atmosphere, family and friends do not have that support network or may not be prepared for what surrounds their loved ones.
Image via JAVIER SORIANO / AFP