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"El Nino" lashes out at La Liga

If Spain wish to meet their lofty expectations of winning soccer’s grandest trophy at this year’s World Cup in South Africa, star striker Fernando Torres will certainly have to be at his best.

More often than not, Torres is on form and is one of the most lethal finishers the sport has to offer.  Although when he’s at his best, Torres claims to work his magic in the world’s best league, the English Premiership. In a recent interview, the one dubbed “El Nino” claimed that England’s domestic league is far superior to La Liga, and said he prefers the level of competition, and insisted that honing his skills in England have made him a better player.

Now could this comment be construed as a slight to both Spanish soccer fans and management? Torres even went on to criticize the fan support within La Liga, and praised the constantly sold-out venues seen in England.

In soccer, we are all aware of the ongoing feud among the most dominant soccer nations in Europe. The likes of England, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France often endlessly debate over which domestic league provides for the best competition. With a prominent Spanish star coming out and advocating for England, well it can’t make La Liga President Jose Luis Astiazaran all too enthralled with Spain’s soccer icon. What about those who oversee the grassroots development of the game in Spain? With Torres coming out in praise of their rivals England, he effectively betrayed the system in which he learned the game.

In April, Astiazaran reached out to Spanish government pleading for assistance to match the revenue of La Liga’s biggest rival, the English Premier League. Certainly La Liga is focused on closing the alleged gap, however comments from one of their star pupils only set the system backward. In an attempt to grow the Spanish game and build off of the nation’s 2008 European victory and recent successes abroad, for a star Spaniard to turn his back on the league which nurtured him and transformed Torres into the dynamic talent he has become today, it is disrespectful and demeans the legitimacy of La Liga going forward.

What about his teammates, many of which hail from the allegedly inferior La Liga. I can’t see such a comment going over well with the men he will go to battle with in just a couple of days, essentially insulting them for honing their trade in an inferior league.

Surely on the surface this remains an innocuous comment by Torres, and although the Premier League is widely accepted as the cream of the crop of domestic leagues, the people of Spain do not want to hear this, especially in wake of an upcoming World Cup. Torres should be reflecting on his poor season at Liverpool, and preparing for a difficult road to World Cup glory, instead of instigating controversial discussions among the domestic leagues.

In the world of soccer nobody appreciates being deemed inferior. Thirty-one teams will be labeled with such an insulting moniker this year in South Africa, and Spain’s Torres will hope to be that one side which emerges victorious. Right now, his country needs him to score goals opposed to open his mouth. One thing will be for certain, the English fans he openly admired certainly won’t be returning the favor this year in South Africa. His provocative words should set up nicely for a potential Spain and England clash in the later rounds, and surely would produce an explosive fixture.

By the way, England features a side completely full of Premier League players. I guess that means trouble for El Nino and his twenty supposedly ‘inferior’ La Liga-based teammates.