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Culture clash

Culture clash

Guillem Balague continues the debate on the differences in English and Spanish football culture.

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Comments (42)

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Andy Eyre (Manchester United fan) says...

This is slightly off the point but relevant nonetheless I'd say. Could it be that the English football fans who believe our game is the greatest and aren't willing to accept a foreign (in this case Spanish) culture are the same English people who go to foreign countries (Spain being a great example) and expect the indigenous population to fall into line with them as opposed to the other way around!? I've lived in Spain for over 5 years now and the way some of the English make no effort to speak to the locals in their native tongue (instead favouring the tried and tested speaking louder and slower) ashames me. In contrast, here you have Guillem. A Spaniard who is more than happy to accept and enjoy a foreign culture in the form of football and puts his opinions across in an incredibly elloquent (and English by the way) article. I dont get to watch Revista as often as I'd like but, having watched Guillem "live", I'm certain that the vast majority of this article is in his own words. It just goes to show the things that can be acheived when you embrace another culture and not dismiss it.

Posted 15:00 3rd February 2012

John Ray (Barcelona fan) says...

Strong physical players use that to their advantage in games and the likes of Mourinho deliberately sends his sides out to foul and rough up the opponent.... If you watch all the clasicos you will see that Barca are kicked all over the place... I really dont know what people expect them to do?? Take it?? They cant match Real physically and its not their style to boot people around either so they make the most of some (not all) tackles and point it out to the ref.... I dont see the problem with this...If Real just played the game then so would Barca... I dont like to see anyone dive with NO contact tho but Real (ie pep, Di Maria) are just as bad... As for the Prem v Liga thing.. Well thats a stupid comparison made by Xenophobic Prem fans and press who cannot accept that there may be another good league out there so just focus on the negatives... NEWS FLASH.... PREM PLAYERS DIVE AND CHEAT TOO.... DUH ALL FOOTBALLERS DO... GET OVER IT

Posted 14:51 3rd February 2012

Mark Thomas (Manchester United fan) says...

The crux of the matter is that unfortunately cheating (be it diving, shirt-pulling, feigning injury, 'professional' fouling, intimidating the referee) goes on at every club these days. Fans, players, and managers are quick to criticise a player from a club (or country) other than the one they support but if it's someone from their own team there's an attitude of 'well it happens to us all the time so it's only fair that we should get away with it', which only serves to reinforce the behaviour. I think the criticism that is made of Spanish football is because when we are watching an English game we usually want one of the sides in particular to win and, therefore, only tend to acknowledge the cheating that is done by the other team. When we look at a Spanish game we are usually neutral and we criticise both teams. So by not acknowledging the cheating fully in the English game we see it as being more prevalent in Spain. The game is in a sorry state.

Posted 14:11 3rd February 2012

Daniel Hancock (Newcastle United fan) says...

I think the football on a whole is a disgrace in terms of diving, prices, atmosphere the lot. Even in the premier league i am sick of this sport which is suppose to be a 'mens' game with all the diving and cheating and unsportmanship. Yes there are a few english players who have dived etc but at the end of the day, the diving and cheating etc has come down to the foreigners in the league. They've added alot of quality yet at the same time brought their own previous league culture to us and it ruining it. However in terms of the spanish game i used to enjoy watching it but now cannot stand it. Especially the 'el classico' which is far from classic to be honest unless you just watch the goal highlights after. May aswell be watching American football the amount of stops and starts. Everyone sprinting at the ref diving cheating. Pathetic. Rugby players and the likes will simply laugh at this poor excuse of a mans sports at which i believe its come at the top level. I think the premier league if it stays the way its going is going to turn into the pantomime that the la liga already is! All these players rolling arond the place they want to try playing locally on saturdays or sundays they'd think they were involved in world war 3.

Posted 14:00 3rd February 2012

Andrew Spence (Real Madrid fan) says...

great blog guillem judging by some posts and the english media love hyping up a league that really needs hyping cos the product alone wont stand up for itself.There for this fake image of epl being the best is exactly that fake people buy into the media churining out the twisted words that they print. Football is about the beautiful game passing the ball quick attacking football nice technical football etc etc not ur bully boy tactics u get at bolton, stoke, etc etc cos that all they know how to win a game because they cant win by playing actual football. Thats why the spanish league is the best league over all. There is this reputation that players dive in la liga well those people need to open there eyes because it happens a lot in england. Its not just the foreign players to fans of english teams need to open there minds broaden there horizons and not stereotype when it happens on there own backyard. Learn to enjoy that in spain we like the play the actual game of FOOTBALL

Posted 11:52 3rd February 2012

Dom Pan (Arsenal fan) says...

This is a biased article. You're essentilly saying it's ok to break the rules and hiding behind a cultural difference excuse. You're saying it's ok to dive because it's better than having your leg broken. Leg breaks are few and far between, but the spectacle we see in El Classicos happen every time. What's the point of having rules if they are not obeyed? Breaking someone's leg and diving are both against the rules in football; they do not act like some kind of equation in which they balance each other out. Pretending to be hurt in order to have an opponent sent off is against the rules, there is no excuse. People trying to defend Busquets with a couple of examples when he has actualy been fouled is pathetic and only proves that the rest of the times he is a cheater. Why deny it when we have all seen it with our own eyes almost everytime he plays. Moreover, it is not Murinho who has gone up to the likes of Busquests and told them to dive. Blaming him is like saying "Well, Murinho is to blame for pointing this out to us." Murinho is no saint but I remember the disgraceful behaviour by Victor Valdez when Inter knocked out Barca when Valdez almost assaulted Murinho for trying to celebrate with the Inter fans. So please no more excuses and trying to argue against the obvious. Diving is wrong in Spain and it's wrong in England.

Posted 11:19 3rd February 2012

Kasper Jones (Peterborough United fan) says...

A lot has been said about Busquets here, am I the only one who sees the clever side? (As most of you only seem to watch the classico¿s I will refer to classico¿s). Messi for example at 5¿6 and the best player in the world has his ankles stepped on, gets pulled back and let¿s say receives harsh treatment because of it, yet gets up with minimal fuss. Busquets at 6¿2 on the other hand goes down with minimal or no contact. This not only gets players booked to protect Messi from the underhand antics of Madrid, but creates the illusion that Messi cannot be stopped. Keeping to Barca-Madrid for a moment. When Ronaldo goes down in these games and gets nothing he seems to get frustrated and then ruins his entire game. To keep this to the point of cultural differences let¿s look at Arsenal-Stoke. Can Stoke out play Asenal? No! So Stoke play to their strengths and Arsenals weakness just like Mourinho tries to stop Barcelona, what¿s the difference? In Spain Barcelona appear to have a very good system of nullifying the physical approach from Madrid just look at the yellow/red card count. Mourinho then countered this by complaining about referees in the press, it doesn¿t stop the yellows but look at the Copa clash Pepe, Carvalho and Diarra should also have seen red but were spared. In England the cry baby approach is used. Arsene Wegner comes out with negative this, you shouldn¿t play that, it¿s not fair whatever. So Stoke cannot play to their strengths? That is like saying Walcott cannot run at full speed because Shawcross won¿t be able to keep up. How many points have Arsenal dropped because they sit and cry rather than have a system to defend their weakness? One last point, A Chelsea fan talking about diving and crowding a ref? I cannot think of a Spanish player that has come to the Premier League and picked up a rep for diving. I can think of some Chelsea players though, Drogba being the worst and was it the grass that

Posted 10:50 3rd February 2012

Cathal N (Barcelona fan) says...

Hi Guillem, I have in the past found myself disagreeing with you in football terms but I think you have really hit the nail on the head with these past too articles. I especially like your attempt at explaining the possible reasons for the Spanish fans higher tolerance of gamesmanship. I think it is important in debates like this that we view these differences based on the cultural nuances that create them rather than mistakenly trying to suggest that an entire people follow weaker moral codes to ourselves. Every country has its own nuances in this regard and as an example I would suggest that here in Ireland there is also more tolerance for the individual who seems to be getting one up on the establishment. It's a cultural thing based on a shared history and should be accepted as such. Thanks for the great work Guillem. I will follow your work with far more interest in future.

Posted 10:26 3rd February 2012

Cathal N (Barcelona fan) says...

Hi Guillem, I have in the past found myself disagreeing with you in football terms but I think you have really hit the nail on the head with these past too articles. I especially like your attempt at explaining the possible reasons for the Spanish fans higher tolerance of gamesmanship. I think it is important in debates like this that we view these differences based on the cultural nuances that create them rather than mistakenly trying to suggest that an entire people follow weaker moral codes to ourselves. Every country has its own nuances in this regard and as an example I would suggest that here in Ireland there is also more tolerance for the individual who seems to be getting one up on the establishment. It's a cultural thing based on a shared history and should be accepted as such. Thanks for the great work Guillem. I will follow your work with far more interest in future.

Posted 10:25 3rd February 2012

Stephen Savill (Southampton fan) says...

I beleive that a point is being missed in this discussion. Barcelona and Real Madrid are both beautiful footballing teams, arguably the best in the world. They set the standards of skill and behaviour, not the Premiership "kickers". Sadly , the standard set by Barca and Real falls short of what could be achieved. It falls short in their failure to share the revenues in Spanish football fairly. It falls short in their play acting and their fouling. If they truly want to recognised as the best, they have to improve in these three areas - or is winning by any means all that matters

Posted 08:57 3rd February 2012

Eryk Wanjama (Chelsea fan) says...

I was watching the game between Barcelona and Villareal where Villareal had a clear penalty claim yet the referee waved it off easily. I then thought of all the games i have seen between the top two teams vs the lower teams and decisions always favoured the big teams in la liga. I feel that its kind of unfair to the smaller teams. Also the gap between the small teams and the big two is really big for me. I thing this makes the la liga suffer a bit because you know the league will be decided between Barca and Real.

Posted 07:20 3rd February 2012

Max Quick (Chelsea fan) says...

Honestly I think that some of the points you raise are interesting, however, I get the feeling althroughout the article that you are merely seeking to challenge and oppose what is the stereotypical English football cultural status quo... Both comments that you have selected to respond to offer nothing but critisism of the supposed 'English attitude' to football. For example, the comment from 'David Jones' virtually goes as far as to suggest that we're more happy in this country to see dangerous, double footed challanges than diving in the box - a completely ridiculous comment, and I'm suprised you chose to even respond to that... The fact of the matter is La Liga is represented by two clubs in most British people's eyes (and likely in many other countries too), so when we watch El Classico and see diving, red cards, the referee being lambasted by a crowd of players, card waving and often fighting, then La Liga is going to be seen as a league where there is a distinct lack of general respect. Now that is not to say that the Premier League is not without its many flaws - it has plenty. However, even in high profile matches (which can often decide the title race and the relegation scraps) the sour elements that typically stain the spectacle of El Classico are usually far less obvious. Personally, I am of the view that this is merely due to a greater respect for the referee in the Premier League - whilst angry managers are sometimes quick to put thier most recent failings down to 'bad refereeing decisions', the general public awknowledge that one of the hardest jobs in football is officiating. You openly state that it is culturally more acceptable in Spain to be decietful towards the ref to gain the advantage, however I feel that this should not be so easily embraced as a 'cultural norm' and perhaps more steps should be taken to embrace the FIFA Respect campaign if Spanish football is itself to be respected

Posted 06:24 3rd February 2012

Peter Tse (Barcelona fan) says...

I agree with the majority of the points made. I do admit I am more biased to Spanish soccer. One thing I've been wanting to say is the bad stereotype that Busquets has received. Honestly have there been many moments where he hasn't actually been fouled? He gets his foot stepped on while being pushed at the same time and that is considered acting or diving? Against Inter he got a bad rep and it only got worse against Madrid but he behaves against every other team which isn't coached by Mourinho.

Posted 05:39 3rd February 2012

Karim Fakhri (Arsenal fan) says...

I think that you've missed the point entirely about what most people were trying to say and have been extremely selective and biased in which responses you decided to comment on. This isn't about just diving when a tackle comes flying in, it's an entire team swamping a referee, it's the bench jumping up onto the pitch and this has nothing to do with the technical side of the game. No doubt acting has seeped into the British game, take Mark Davies against Arsenal the other day, the difference is it isn't the entire team attempting to deceive the referee, it is an individual. It isn't about falling to the ground, it's about spending most of the time on the ground and I don't think you're seeing that. I'm not even condoning Pepe's often reckless tackles, I'm talking 50/50s!

Posted 03:20 3rd February 2012

Lance Wood (Valencia fan) says...

I have actually lived in Spain and became an avid Valencia fan whilst there. I have since moved around the world but make sure I catch the La Liga games wherever I go. I also regularly watch other leagues and of course the international games. The one thing that makes me sick about all of the modern leagues is the pressure the Players and managers seem to be allowed to put on the referees. Yes they can make mistakes from time to time and can only call what they see but this incessant crowding and berating of the referee simply should not be allowed. I play Field Hockey on a regular basis and am even am a qualified coach. This behavior simply wouldn't be tolerated in that arena. I am a firm believer that the game will continue to go downhill until this behavior is curtailed. If a player asks for a card then I think the referee should give them the card they are asking for. If one of the players I coach behaved like some of these so called 'professionals' I would and have pulled them off the pitch, however, good they may be. Not only does this negative approach irritate fans such as me but it also detracts from both the moral and performance of the team. A player¿s focus should be on the game. Unfortunately I would like to say that one league stands out as being better or worse for this but I believe it is an inherent problem wherever the game is played at the top level. On a side note, what is up with Guaita is he injured, Alves is doing a great job but Guaita looked fantastic last season?

Posted 00:57 3rd February 2012

James King (Barcelona fan) says...

There will always be rule bending in sport. Diving in football is just the way it's done in football. It's here to stay and so the fans of all clubs should just tolerate it. While it takes away from some 10 minutes of an El Classico, we still get 80 minutes of magnificent football. I'm not saying it's right to dive, but it's no longer avoidable. It's in the 'Hard-man' english game, it's in the technical spanish game. Liverpool would defend Suarez if he dived, but try to villify rooney. The way i see it is quite simply fans will always attack their rivals and those teams they see as threatening to their chances of success. And the fans of the english game will always try and villify the spanish and other forms of football that are played because no one person is un-biased when it comes to sport. We should embrace all ways in which the game is played, i love the tikki-takka play of Barcelona, and Guardiola has mastered the pressing game. But i can also enjoy the long ball football of stoke, as it's played well. Football is best in all forms, when its being played well. As for the press, they can say what they want because we all know they dig for the negatives to get the story. You'll read of Messi having a bad game midweek, not Valencia putting in an impressive display against barce. You'll be told of pepe's stamp in the classico, not of Puyol's diving header. People focus on the negatives because it gets the reaction, it's down to each individual whether they will only loo at the negatives, or whether they will look at the positives of the various styles of football, whether it's that of spain, or that of england. each culture offers something different, exciting, and enjoyable.

Posted 23:36 2nd February 2012

Paul Hennigan (Blackburn Rovers fan) says...

interesting debate. The physical nature of English football had to be replaced when Gascoine was sent off in the world cup, it was clear that refs that werent british did not understand that style of play! It seems though, that our british lads are still having trouble finding a style that is more continental. I live in the states now and I can tell you that the yanks love the brit way of playing. They understand hard physical battles. They hate cheating of any kind. Its becoming a joke that soccer players fall down at the drop of a hat. I hate it too. Stop the diving!

Posted 22:50 2nd February 2012

Kyle Jolley (Manchester United fan) says...

there is no doubt how good classico matches are but the way real madrid have been playing so dirty and barcleona have played there part theres no need for all that simulation the refs should be more strict regardless if it ruins the game all these great players on both teams recent matches have just been ruined due to stupid behaviours on the pitch

Posted 21:45 2nd February 2012

Brian Terry (Chelsea fan) says...

You only answer questions that corresponding to your point of view about la Liga and barca players,was mourinho there when they draw 1-1 at the bridge...don't try to defend absurd behaviour ....it annoying the fact that instead of condemning you seam to hide under the blanket of culture where was all this in the days on cocu and makelele or mendieta and redondo...Rooney did not ask the ref for card instead he pointed out that it was a two footed tackle,you should get your fact right before making accusation ...by the way ur spanish so I don't expect you to understand the way I hate barca behavior as if football started on 21 century

Posted 21:15 2nd February 2012

Daniel Gardiner (Liverpool fan) says...

Once again a very interesting debate Guilem, i have a question. Growing up in England and playing football since i was 8 years old the English game was very much 'imprinted' into how I played. My parents moved to spain when I was ten and i managed to join an academy out there for 3 years, before i moved back. I'm gonna be honest here and say that for about 3 months that I initially started playing in Spain, It was actually like starting football all over again. I am of course aware that there are different standards between spanish development and that of England, but i am intrigued as how much this development has on issues such as the one you raised. For example, i remember tackling someone after i lost the ball and we both hit the floor and he started clutching his ankle, and what i assume was his parents starting whistling and shouting. In no way am i complaining my experience playing football 'technically' was probably the best learning experience i had, but it did strike up curiosity as where does this 'behavior' ( Im not condoning it nor saying its bad) initiate from? I mean are youngster's in Spain taught that hitting the ground when you've been subject to (legal) physical contact advantageous or is it really from watching Alves for example do it in the 'Classico'?

Posted 20:30 2nd February 2012

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