Give Us Nasty, Brutish, and Short: The Virtue of Individual in Football

We’re absloutely delighted, this morning, to welcome Jason LeBlanc to the pages of Twohundredpercent for the first time, and he is is, this morning, having a look at the roles of individuals against that of teams in football. Gareth Bale might very well be the needle that punctures Barcelona’s tiki-taka balloon.  If Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona ever meet in European competition in the near future, the fixture would indeed be a contrast of footballing philosophies—not only with respect to how each club attacks a match but also the culture from which its approach derives.  While Barcelona delights and excels in football played as a collective effort with a dash of individual brilliance, Tottenham has achieved recent continental success owing to personal displays of quality sprinkled with bits of teamwork. Here rests the underlying complaint many fans and pundits of English football have with the Spaniards’ plan on the pitch: it is not necessarily boring but it does seem to actively diminish the importance of the individual.  Rather than becoming singular legends of the game with their own stories of triumph to tell, the Barca way to football retrofits distinctly gifted players into becoming replaceable cogs in a triangular system of twenty-first century push and run. England already had its Industrial Revolution and has moved on, so thank you very much. Declaring the tiki-taka method boring is an oversimplification and...

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