Simon Cooper: “Barcelona will never be in the top three in Europe again”
To take charge of the interview type: “The rise and fall of Barcelona and its new rise?”
I don’t believe in that. Barcelona will return to the top 25 continental list and be among the top two or three in Spain, but will not be among the three or four European leaders. Which means they could reach the Champions League semi-finals for a year, and another year they could be eliminated from the group stage.
You paint a darker picture of Mallorca than Barcelona.
Besides Ibiza, Europeans dreamed of a holiday, but Mallorca became very hot. As in Alicante or Torremolinos, tourism will head to the north coast, to Santander or San Sebastian.
Does the “complexity of Barcelona” start from your fascination with Cruyff?
Yes, he was my hero and also the hero of most fans in Holland where I grew up. For us, Barcelona was a Dutch team.
Nobody has reasons like Cruyff, it was Oscar Wilde meeting Groucho.
Yes, sometimes I compare him to Freud or Karl Marx. He was a crazy and completely original genius, who changed the concept of football.
You also say that “Cruyff stopped thinking in 1992.”
Having led his revolution, he lost interest. Instead, Cruyff’s son Guardiola continues to evolve since its inception in 2009.
Is Manchester City the new Barcelona?
Today yes. It’s a club run by ex-Barcelona players like Begiristain, Soriano or Guardiola himself, and it has all the money in the world. But also Liverpool or Bayern have developed crazy ideas.
His tourist analysis forgets that Germans, British and Dutch love the Mediterranean madly.
Because it is the best place in the world to live, as long as you earn more than 25 thousand euros annually. I like the very casual and friendly, “handsome”, “honey”, “hug”.
Is Messi God alone when he plays with Barcelona?
He is also good with Argentina, a rather weak team that led him to the finals of the Copa America four times and the final of the World Championship, with two defeats on penalties. Messi is simply the best football player in human history.
What is the difference between Messi and Cristiano?
Both are excellent, but Messi is two great players, 9 and 10. Ronaldo is only a great 9, even though he has experience as a winger.
You have learned in your book that only the chosen ones can withstand the pressure of a crowded stadium.
The tension is terrible, a lot of teenagers who play for Spanish or English U-16 teams stand in front of the crowd and say ‘I hate this, I can’t stand it’. They are sabotaging their careers. Big stars like Messi are also terrified, paralyzed and vomited before entering the field, but they use pressure as a challenge.
You also indicated that you liked Rafael Nadal.
I admire him, as well as Federer, and I think Nadal is the most popular man in Spain. It is not limited to just one part, it can unite the whole country. Instead, the King is not popular at all in Catalonia.
The independence of Catalonia came to his mind when he was preparing his book.
Spain and Catalonia should relax on the issues they face, and they are not the country’s most important problems. Climate change is infinitely more dangerous for Spaniards, who must find compromises on other issues.
You describe Spain as the happiest country in Europe.
Her happiness does not stand out, in that the Scandinavians surpass her, but she has an extraordinary quality of life, with the exception of mileuristas. For it to be a perfect country, you just need to solve the low-income status.
I see the people in my newsroom getting devastated when Barcelona loses.
It is a typical Spanish case, linked to the country’s history and the conflict between Catalonia and centralism. Liverpool or Manchester City do not represent countries.
Can you write a book similar to “Barcelona Intricacies” about Florentino Madrid?
I’ve lived a whole year in the capital, making sure that the Bernabéu does not allow anyone to hack its operations. Barcelona gave me an unimaginable quality of access in Madrid.
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