A LOOK AT LA LIGA
You must have seen the argument over in the Premier League that the same old faces are just rotating clubs on the managerial merry-go-round while the elite are signing the superstar managers? Over here in La Liga it is the complete opposite.
Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benítez and Mauricio Pochettino all made their name in Spain before heading to the top clubs in England. Now there is a new breed of manger breaking through!
In La Liga we don't have the likes of Sam Allardyce, David Moyes, Alan Pardew and Tony Pulis who take it in turns to lead clubs of a certain standing. The Premier League currently has eight British managers (if you count Chris Hughton as Irish) compared to La Liga which has seventeen Spanish managers.
Only Ernesto Valverde at Barcelona, Quique Sánchez Flores at Espanyol and Marcelino at Valencia could really be regarded as established in the top flight, the rest are developing with their clubs.
There are some great characters emerging.
One of my favourites is Pablo Machin at Girona. This is a man who has the backing of the Manchester City money men and a squad bolstered by young players enjoying a gap year away from the reserve team of the Premier League club, yet he has stuck to his principles. He's used the players Pep Guardiola has sent him sparingly and largely stuck with the spine of the team that won promotion to the top league for the first time ever. He's also insistent on playing his own formation with a back three and already masterminded the shock result of the season by beating Real Madrid.
The man challenging him for unsung hero is Asier Garitano who began his coaching career in the lower leagues, starting in the footballing outpost of Alicante. When he arrived at Leganés in 2013 they didn't even have their own training ground and they were struggling in the third tier of Spanish football. In a short space of time and on a limited budget he guided the club from the suburbs of Madrid onto the football map. There's a big chance they could be on the European map as currently they sit in 7th place.
Getafe are close in a couple of ways, one point in the league and just a couple of junctions along the M45 orbital. They too are managed by an emerging leader. José Bordelas looks younger than his fifty-three years, especially when you learn that this is his 11th club! He was actually assisted by Garitano in Alicante and he's spent seasons in Benidorm.
He's bespectacled and looks respectable on the touchline but there's a bit of the loveable rascal about him. Last week when Valencia lost their first game of the season their captain was left bemoaning the state of the pitch. One suspects that Bordelas gave the groundsman a couple of days off.
Even though he guided Alavés back to the top flight in 2016 they decided they needed to replace him. Their loss was Getafe's gain and he won promotion for a second year in a row. Now his combination of bargains, free transfers and veterans are establishing themselves in the top 10. The club that nobody loved is regarded as romantic all of a sudden.
The British press only knows Zidane and Simeone but the next generation of top coaches are evolving each with their own personalities and quirks.