In days of yore, the Spanish first soccer division (which shouldn't be called primera liga
, but Primera División
, the Liga is the whole thing, including all divisions) was nicknamed the League of the Stars. It was when two Spanish sides clashed in the Champion's League finals
, when an Spanish underdog such as the Alavés gave a hard time to win to the proud Liverpool in the UEFA cup finals
, or when the Real Zaragoza
, another underdog, beat Chelsea in the Cup Winner's Cup finals.
It's no longer that way. Depor, el Deportivo de la Coruña
that humiliated Bayern Münich in his own Arena, has been eliminated
in the Intertoto finals
; same with Valencia, next-to-last Spanish Liga and UEFA cup winner.
At that time Benítez
was the coach of that same Valencia that has failed few Champions League finals and semifinals. But he didn't feel appreciated here, and moved to Liverpool, where he's been given free rein to create the team he wants. And he's given Liverpool a Spanish backbone, from the goalkeeper, Reina, unwanted in Barcelona, to Morientes, who didn't feel at ease in Real Madrid. In fact, Liverpool was, as of the last Spanish selection match, the one that loaned most players, more than Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Where's the future of Spanish soccer? I have no doubt it's in Liverpool, with Benítez. Congratulations, Red Devils
, and good luck.