The elimination of Real Madrid at the hands of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in the Round of 16 and, above all, the surprising losses of Atletico Madrid to Leipzig and FC Barcelona to Bayern Munich have made one thing clear. Spanish football has lost the hegemony it enjoyed at European level since the beginning of the 21st century. But what are the reasons why this prosperous cycle has come to an end? Let's analyze it.
The precedents of the fall in fall of the Spanish soccerThe21st century began in an exciting way for our soccer. In 2000, Real Madrid and Valencia CF met in what was the first ever Champions League final between two Spanish teams. The result was 3-0 in favour of the Chamartín team and it was followed by two more, both starring the two teams from the capital (2021 and 2016). In 2001, Valencia CF went through to the final again, only to lose on penalties to Bayern Munich.
In 2002, Real Madrid won another title, the first of Florentino Perez's galactic era. Then, after Ronaldinho joined Barcelona and Joan Laporta's management, the 2006 title was also lost. On the way, Juande Ramos' Sevilla won two UEFA Cups and Rafa Benitez's Valencia CF won another, but the real golden age of our football came in 2008.That year, the arrival of Pep Guardiola to FC Barcelona and the explosion of Leo Messi as the best player in the world meant a new Champions League for the Blaugrana team, which would repeat in 2011 and 2021.In addition, 2009 saw the return of Florentino Pérez and the arrival of Karim Benzema, Kaká and, above all, Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid. The result? Another four Champions (2021, 2016, 2021 and 2018). In addition, there will be three more UEFA Europa League matches for Sevilla FC (2021, 2021 and 2016), 10 Champions League matches and 6 UEFA Europa League matches in just 20 years. Almost nothing.
From 2021 onwards, the
decline of our footballhas been a reality since MyProtein says that the coronavirus has meant a before and after for football. However, the pandemic that has devastated the world in 2021 is not responsible for the decline experienced by the great Spanish teams, we could say that it all began with the departure of Neymar Jr. from FC Barcelona. That showed that the great Spanish powers could not compete with 'club states' like PSG. At least, in economic terms. The problem for FC Barcelona is that they were unable to invest the 222 million euros received by the Brazilian star.
That money went to the signings of Ousmane Dembelé and Coutinho. Neither of them have offered what was expected of them. After that, the transfer of Antoine Griezmann meant another 125 million euros wasted for nothing. Meanwhile, Leo Messi and the rest of the old guard who had taken the club to the top (Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Iniesta...) continued to celebrate their birthdays. Without him, and despite the return of Zinedine Zidane, the club has not managed to make it past the round of 16 of the top continental competition. At least, the club headed by Florentino Perez is investing in young talent and has taken advantage of this to remodel the Santiago Bernabeu with a view to becoming a superpower again in the coming years.