The dribbling crisis is humiliating European football

And in Spain we talk about it with a certain persistence.

Someone in Europe is starting to wake up. The man lives not only from the (fantasy) market, but also from deadly dribbles, wonderful touches, stops and feints to send the direct goalscorer to the crossbar. Javier Marcet is director of the Spanish Marcet Foundation, which specializes in the training of players and goalkeepers from the age of four, and told ABC, a Spanish newspaper: “Asphalt is the great enemy of today’s footballer. Football is becoming more and more technically demanding, but dribbling is becoming more and more difficult. Before it was freer, more natural. The great champions are players who were born with the ball at their feet and went to school with the ball in areas where there was no asphalt. If you choose that Favelasbetween the garbage bags, the stones, the roots of the trees, the people… you learn to negotiate with everything that happens to you.

For this reason, the appearance of players like Kvaratskhelia, Vinicius, Yamal, Zaragoza and Nico Williams, writes the Spanish newspaper, was “a breath of fresh air in a restricted football in which tactical penalties sap the players’ spontaneity.” The positional play and the Possession of the ball, which has produced the best teams of recent years such as Barça or Guardiola’s City and revolutionized the way of defense and also attack, has caused collateral damage to creativity and reignited an old debate from Barca street football or academic football better ?

It’s an age-old problem that we’ve discussed countless times in our columns. As He says Jorge Valdano: “We made training desperate with one or two touches, even without goals. The result is a multitude of players across Europe who control and pass perfectly, but there are no passers.” The article on ABC is interesting not only because of the interview, but also because of the readings it gives on the topic: The basic thesis is that today’s footballers are a hundred times as good on a tactical level as those of the eighties and nineties, but a hundred times better and less so in individual moves – that means dribbling, but also shots from outside, through passes in general the spontaneous play.

According to Salva Garcia Puig, former international and Barcelona player of the 1980s, “there were players of this type in all teams.” Even small teams had very talented players. Football has now become very predictable and players who tackle and dribble a lot are frowned upon. The players of my time had grown up on the streets, with everything that entails. Now everything is being examined more and more, the system, the positions, everything is much more limited. Until now it was left to the imagination and talent of the players.” Even someone like Yamal, who is very strong individually, “if you look closely, he finds himself in a system in which he rarely tries because of his qualities, with the big one Talent that he has. “When he has the ball, things always happen, but within a plan and with a task set by a coach.”

Only one coach, José Luis Mendilibar, had told it Relevo that “we coaches bear a lot of guilt when there are no more setters.” We only teach children to create patterns. It seems that this is football: combining, passing… Everything else no longer seems to be football. Dribbling is, for the player, the inherent technical action of the game.” Finally, Miguel Hernandez, former Rayo and Espanyol player and football teacher at federal schools, also added to ABC a very important concept: the lack of naturalness in the learning of the game by children.

“The absence of these actors is the legacy of years of work on a methodology. Passing figures, small games and possessions are now often used. Everything is very structured, but the naturalness is missing. Before you could play next to the cars anywhere in your neighborhood…

Not today, today you have to play in the school sports center, the sports are age-appropriate, there is no progression. That’s why those who know how to dribble are not only a rare commodity, but also a valuable one“The best way to break a tactical system is one-on-one, because a numerical superiority is already established. It should be promoted much more and used much more in schools,” Hernandez concluded. The problem has finally been posed, now it’s up to all of us to investigate.

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