Das hatte Sid Lowe, Iberien-Fussball-Korrespondent für den “Guardian”, am 3. November 2012 getwittert:
“The club that gave the Premier League Cazorla, Michu and Mata is under threat of going out of business. PLEASE buy shares. #sosrealoviedo“
Low’s Message kam bei seinen rund 100’000 Followern an. Seither wird der englische Journalist in seiner Wahlheimat “Sir Sid” gerufen. Während Real Oviedo sich nun auf dem steinigen Weg der Genesung befindet, wendete Lowe sich wieder seinem Kerngeschäft zu: Wie 10 seiner Berufskollegen hatte er für den Guardian eine Liste seiner 30 besten Fussballer abzuliefern, woraus in einem Punktevergabesystem “The 100 best footballers in the world” destilliert wurden. Die Podestplätze überraschen nicht sonderlich, die hinteren Ränge dafür umso mehr. Auf Platz 85 ist, immerhin, ein bekanntes Trikot zu sehen.
Dass Sid Lowe nicht nur ein sympathischer Retter in Not ist, sondern seit vielen Jahren auch ein wunderbarer football-writer, beweist seine Ode an Xavi (Platz 3):
Xavi Hernández admits that a few years ago he felt like a player under threat of extinction. Everywhere, muscle mattered, height mattered. His game was different. Now, five years later, he is the model, the ideologue behind a different approach – a style that has led him to win everything for club and country.
Luis Aragonés decided to build the Spain side around Xavi, to adopt a game based on possession and control, and it has worked. At the same time, Pep Guardiola took over as coach at Barcelona and did much the same. Xavi was revitalised.
For each of the past five seasons, the world’s most significant footballing trophy has been won by the team that had Xavi in the heart of its midfield: two European Championships, two European Cups and a World Cup.
Xavi describes his game as the constant search for spaces. “It’s hard when you’ve got a bloke behind you who’s six foot tall and powerful, and he’s right on you,” he says. “You have to think quickly, you have to look for spaces. That’s what I do: look for spaces. All day, I’m looking. Here? No. There? No. Always looking for the space. Space, space. A man comes towards you, over there. Is there one here? Or there?”
Xavi invariably finds it. Over the past five years no player has completed so many passes: he has averaged – averaged! – more than 100 a game. And it is passes that lie at the heart of the success of Spain and Barcelona. This summer, he admitted that he had not enjoyed the Euros as much as previous tournaments. He played a little further forward, where play is more cramped.
But then came the final and Xavi was suddenly everywhere. That Spain produced their best performance was not entirely coincidental. Xavi may well go down as the best player in Spain’s history, even if Dani Alves says he “plays in the future”.