Sunday , August 1 2021

Fighting demons

One of the main differences between the “footballer” profession and the rest is its impact. The impact. Especially in groups that “carry” thousands of fans. Especially in southern Europe, where the blood boils.

Don’t think that advertising is easy to manage. Good and bad “. It is, even in the Instagram era, the percentage of players (in Greece) who look for it. They cultivate it. They systematically and methodically build their profile and their direct relationship with fans. Most are users “social” users. And, at the same time, professional soccer players who – contrary to what happened in the 1960s and 1990s, hear, read and receive in much the same way much more comments negatives and criticisms than positive comments and apotheosis, as was the case in the old days when football existed, another type of play in everyday life and on the weekend of the Greek.


It is one of the few professions in which the worker is judged: a) publicly b) with a frequency of 3 or 7 days c) by hundreds or even millions of people who have an opinion on the subject even if they are not aware of it. Yes, “big ships, big storms”, it applies. Yes, a lot of money since I was very young in the “big” teams, and that’s true. And money, fame and fame sometimes. For a few, for the minority, for the small percentage of football players on teams that hold championships and have high goals. That is, probably for the best. Today, the best thing is to put this element in the equation of your professional life: the weight of the enormous impact of the profession, which is much greater compared to other times.

His player Panathinaikos a month has passed … blackberries. With daily criticism and several excessive comments in the media, with a bad “stick” on social networks. With “visits” by fans to airports (Heraklion, “Eleftherios Venizelos”) and taverns βε (Fthiotida). With frustration, with anger, with regret, with questioning, with changes in coaches and technical director. Yesterday, a colon entered Lamia. And no matter what each of us writes and says, it was the first time this year that they liked it! Not just because they won. But because they experienced it in its entirety before the final positive result. With celebrations, with a penalty, with a lot of running (as long as everyone held on), with several opportunities, with creativity, with battles, in short, with a clear victory. And perhaps most importantly, in addition to all the purely football and administrative issues of the team’s day-to-day life, this is it. The feeling of “we get what we deserve based on performance”. The feeling of “we give the best we can”. The feeling of pleasure for victory and effort.


This will not happen most of the time. This is also a peculiarity of the profession! You are extremely dependent on your teammate. Positives and negatives. You depend on dozens of factors that you cannot determine. A defensive error when playing the opponent unilaterally or an attack necklace when playing “drum”. From a crossbar and a goal against. From a diet whistle, from an injury. A dismissal, a wonderful inspiration or an unfortunate choice of coach. You can be the best player and lose. You can be the worst and celebrate in the end: in what other profession does this happen together? Think about it. To no one.

The biggest victory for Panathinaikos in yesterday’s match in Lamia is that feeling. The joy of the game and professional satisfaction. After the opportunities they lost to Asteras, OFI, Aris, after the phobic confrontation and the tie – “punishment” in the games with AEL and Volos, for the only time this year everything went well! First phase in the game goal – penalty defense – first phase in the second half again goal – final. In the end, it could have been 0-4 if goalkeeper Theodoropoulos was not on high alert or if the so-called Vigiafanies had not been off the pitch for seven months. But that, the breadth of the score, has little importance for Panathinaikos at this point.


Many points accumulated for Laszlo Boloni, 67, who throws “paternal” handcuffs a la Giorgos Vardinogiannis and hits Carlitos properly because he missed three opportunities for a hat-trick: the “liberation” of the Spaniard, the most obvious improvement of the right wing the risk that comes in part with Mauricio playing 90 minutes, the mature management of Vigiafanies with “confidence injections” and “you have to play for a while”. But the road is still long and the problem is obvious even after the first victory: what he will do on the main axis. Where he doesn’t seem to trust children. Where it is not possible to play 90 minutes in all Kourbelis – Mauricio matches. Where data are lacking to support the simultaneous presence of Makenda – Carlitos when Panathinaikos does not have the ball.

Against inferior or even “equal” teams, 4-4-2 is not tested if it works well in training (it needs a lot of help and regular consistency of extremes and extremes). However, this device is not the absolute compass, especially when there is a lack of runs and intensity to recover the ball in midfield. Perhaps the solution is “Villa” in 4-2-3-1, playing behind (one) center forward. If you are able to participate smoothly against Apollo and Atromitos, in the following “break” for 15 days you will have time to help your team more effectively in the final stretch of the first round, with two visits to Faliro – Toumba and three matches at OAKA empty with AEK, PAS Giannina and Panaitoliko.

Until then, however, Panathinaikos is called upon to continue the fight against his demons. With insecurity, fear, bullying by fans, pressure from the media. Yes, they are all “part” of professional football, other than football. If he first defeats these “opponents” who are not insignificant compared to the players on the pitch, he will dramatically increase his chances of more success on the pitch. I already have the impression that the last two months have made several players mature and rethink a lot. This will be seen in the future of your career. Because this is a two-month period that they will never forget.

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