by Simon Goliath
Ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona, in La Liga, is Girona of the City Football Group and Guardiola’s brother. European game, best attack: the big match against Ancelotti on Saturday
Yesterday, before going to bed, Girona fans will have taken a screenshot of the league table: in Spain, ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona, there is their favorite team, which has won 19 points out of the 21 available and also has the best attack (18 goals, like the Blaugrana, five more than Madrid. Eleven different scorers). the first time in 93 years of history that they are in the lead, incredible if you look at two years ago, when the club had lost three of its first five matchdays in the Segunda Division and was living with the nightmare of relegation to the Tercera. In those days of anguish and doubts, who never had any, the club was united around Michel, their coach. Who, at the end of that season, would have brought Girona to the Liga and who came close to making it to Europe in the last season, missing out on the Conference League by just four points. With the latest comeback against Villarreal (2-1 in the 90th minute), the team celebrated their sixth victory in a row (they only lost points on their debut, equal with Real Sociedad) and on Saturday they will host Ancelotti for the most unprecedented of the big matches.
How Girona, the revelation team of La Liga, plays
History teaches us that, in La Liga, anyone who finds themselves in the lead or at 19 points on matchday seven has never finished the championship lower than sixth place. But in those parts everyone continues to talk about salvation, also because Girona has never survived for two consecutive years in the top flight. In the meantime, the Montilivi Stadium has never been so full: no one wants to miss the lively play of Michel’s boys (with the highest danger index of all – 0.14 -, and the most goals from the small area: 10), the classic maneuver that today is defined as European, which involves an attentive – as well as mobile – three-man defense and which espouses a collective offensive maneuver, in which everyone attacks relentlessly. Against Mallorca for example (5-3 victory) Girona shot 23 times, 10 on target. It all starts from the back, with the precise passes of Blind or Eric Garcia, then passes through the direction of Aleix Garca and the lungs of Yangel Herrera, finishing with the work of the attackers – Dovbyk or Stuani – who are good both in depth and in duels with the central defenders opponents.
Savinho the star, City Football Group in command
But the ingredient that completes the recipe, the one that makes everything special and cool, is called Savinho, a 19-year-old Brazilian winger who, together with Vinicius, has been the most devastating player in La Liga so far, with two goals and four assists in seven matches: On Saturday I will enjoy him and suffer Vini, Michel joked, but not much, in view of the big match with Madrid. His head and the foresight of sporting director Quique Crcel are making the place dream (for 20 years no team other than Bara, Real and Atletico Madrid has won in La Liga. The last to do so was Benitez’s Valencia), but much has been made possible by the City Football Group, the majority shareholder (just think that Savinho arrived on loan from Troyes, another team he belongs to).
The decisive role of Guardiola’s brother
But a decisive role is played above all by Pere Guardiola, Pep’s brother, now president of the board of directors. A former student of electromechanics, a past footballer (they say he was very good) for 12 years he managed Nike’s sports sponsorships, closing agreements with the various Iniesta, Puyol, Sergio Ramos and Piqu. He took care of the global management of the contracts of Ronaldo the phenomenon and Ronaldinho, then founded Media Base Sports, a sports representation and consultancy agency that built the career of, among many, Luis Suarez. Pere Guardiola’s involvement with Girona total. He makes important decisions on transfers and all decisive issues for the club, he watches over every aspect despite living in London. He watches the team from there and has fun. Maybe he did a screenshot of the ranking too.
September 28, 2023 (modified September 28, 2023 | 3:38 pm)
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