I have always maintained the position that the media that covers Mexican footie does not know how to handle the success of the teams they cover. It is always comical to watch the talking head shows after a big win, because they literally have nothing to talk about. The failures? Well, they all seem to channel Grantland Rice in their caustic prose. Or should I say Mr. Blackwell? And in this 24 hour news cycle in which we live, the molehills are all reported as the Himalayas, just like they are everywhere else. The latest of these is the reaction to an interview that Javier Aguirre conducted with a Madrid radio personality.
Vasco has always been honest and forthcoming interview, so I fail to see why it was so horrible for him to make the statements he made. What I do find offensive, though, is how the press interprets the meaning of what he said.
Javier Aguirre stated that he’ll go back to Spain after the world cup. No big surprise. He has spent the last 7+ years there. His children live there. He wants to coach in Europe. Very few coaches stay on for another world cup cycle. Of course, why let the facts get in the way of vilifying. “It’s clear that he came to Mexico, not to qualify the national team for the world cup, but because he couldn’t say no to the monetary offer.” Why is that such a bad thing? Aguirre had no intention of coaching Mexico ever again. Why not make it worth his while.
Let us not forget who made a hash of the qualifying. If they needed Vasco to come in and pull Mexico’s collective bottom out of the fire, they were going to have to pay for the privilege. Is he a hired gun? Absolutely. And I don’t understand why someone has to be raked over the coals for wanting to move on in their career after the world cup is over.
There were other “bombshells” in the interview. He made a reference to Mexico’s current safety issues. He chose his words wisely and could have easily painted an uglier picture. He didn’t. Those who were quick to admonish him for airing out dirty laundry work for the same publications that couldn’t wait to post pictures of Salvador Cabañas moments after he was shot.
But the one that seems to have made the pundits’ heads explode is when he described Mexico’s place in the football world. “Come on. Mexico is what it is. Mexico has been among the top 10 to fifteen teams in the past world cups. To make the jump from there to the top 3 is difficult. Being prudent, what I tell folks is we will do the best we can with the understanding that it will not be easy.”
What more do want a coach to say? Aguirre sees a very tricky group, and if he manages to navigate it successfully, the specter of a sleeping giant (Argentina) looms as a possible knockout opponent. Of course, the most of the media didn’t see it that way. The consensus saw it as nothing more than pessimism. They should know. That is one area in which they are bona fide experts. The truth? Well, they're still working on that one.