For the past few years, Spanish football has been the benchmark for world football. This very statement has been highlighted by continued success both continentally and internationally with the Spanish National side currently holding onto top spot on the FIFA World Rankings and current World Cup and Euro Champions. Furthermore La Liga contains arguably the best two clubs in the world namely the best ever side we’ve ever seen in FC Barcelona and the prestigious Real Madrid.
However the Spaniards are admired not because of their success in recent years but the way they’ve gone about playing their football, stuff that has captured the hearts of football admirers around the world with their passing fluidity making it virtually impossible to defend against.
La Liga has often been described as a two horse race, however as Spanish football continues to develop, so has the talent and also the competition within the league is becoming greater. We often talk about and admire the two Spanish giants, but of late, a new dark horse has become real title contenders; I’m referring to none other than Malaga.
Many of you may have been unaware that they in fact finished 4th in La Liga last season, it is considered a feat when you look the players the squad is built around. There is however definitely no excuse to be unaware of the Andulusians this season as they have made a name for themselves in the Champions League, beating AC Milan 1-0 en route to a Round of 16 clash with Malaga.
I must admit I spent way too much time introducing you to a team with no affiliation to Australian Football whatsoever. However their formula for success is one worthy of copying and incorporating if the Wanderers are to have a chance of winning a maiden A League title in their debut season.
It has so far been a fairytale debut season, and as a local of Western Sydney, it certainly brings about happiness to see your local team performing at a top class level week in week out. Full credit goes to Popovic, the man at the centre of our success.
The Wanderers no longer have anything to prove. They’ve been able to beat the best teams in the competition (the only team they haven’t been able to overpower are the Mariners), with arguably their best performance last weekend against a strong Victory side boasting the likes of Rojas and Flores, the result of the match really could’ve gone either way. But the Wanderers still have so much to lose!
With every win, confidence builds. However the danger comes when there is an air of overconfidence in the dressing room. Brisbane Roar’s fall from grace this season after winning the past two championships should act as a cautionary tale, if not, a reminder of the dangers of complacency.
And if success is to become part of the Wanderer’s vocab, they should indeed look to Malaga as inspiration and emulate what Pellegrini has done for his side. After all he only took over the reins of the club in 2010.
Their success may be short lived, however the time taken to achieve such successes has been phenomenal. Their successes has been based on confidence, not over confidence, and they have been able to build their team around one player- Isco, who probably wouldn’t have made a name for himself had he not left Valencia. This is exactly what the Wanderers need to do.
And they do have a player with the same attributes- Aaron Mooy
Unknown to many in Australia before this season, he has been one many Australian talents to, in sense, ‘come out of the closet’, mouth watering displays, the skill on the ball, vision and not to mention his dribbling capabilities make him one of the most feared midfielders. He has a long career ahead of him and, God willing, may well move on to larger European clubs, but he is the man who can lead them to success in the short term. success for this young man is inevitable.
The blend of youth and experience has been an absolute success. The class and quality on the ball of Shinji Ono, arguably the most successful A League signing, has helped the Wanderers continued success, he has been the puppeteer all season, pulling the strings of the team, and Aaron Mooy has a lot to learn from the former Japanese international.
Also the diversity of qualities each player contains is akin to Malaga. Again the vision of Ono, the aerial capabilities of Kresinger, the fearless defending of Beauchamp and the great dribbling skills of Hersi has all contributed to the success and plaudits received and deserve equal praise for their performances.
However despite these comparisons to one of Spain’s best teams, they still have a lot to learn. Central Coast will be good test for them next week, if they should prevail, they may well go on to conquer Asia.
They contain boldness which makes success inevitable
But as for now, let’s come back down to earth, the ultimate prize is still awaiting!