The decision to sack Luis Enrique as coach of the Spanish team after the failure at the World Cup in Qatar - where his team lost on penalties to Morocco in the round of 16 - is perfectly understandable, given that it is the same path followed by coaches of teams such as Germany or Belgium, who also had to leave their World Cup bases in a hurry after being eliminated. The World Cup is too important a planetary competition. It can't be used to make a cold analysis of what the situation of Spanish football really is, nor give a balanced assessment of the years that the coach has been in charge of the team until now.
But all football fans know that Luis Enrique was condemned before the start of the championship. He had the audacity to base the structure of his team on players from Futbol Club Barcelona and this, together with an indomitable character that has led him to face down some of the journalistic totems in Madrid, made him into a target for most Spanish media, who, as true predators, have gone against him. Luis Enrique didn't give them interviews, mocked their football knowledge, and preferred to create a Twitch channel before going to their studios in the Spanish capital, where it goes without saying that the coach has to comply.
I have followed with a certain curiosity how heart-on-their-sleeves Spaniards, with their patriotism burning, chose to give preference during these last months to their animosity towards the coach as a reason for going against the Spanish national team. La Roja arrived in Qatar with an almost unbreathable atmosphere of discontent from without. Only a coach who knows what true personal tragedy is could overcome that and stand up daily to those who denigrated and insulted him, defending his group of players and finally discrediting those who went against him for his blaugrana past and his well-known distancing from Madrid, a team he left in 1996 to sign for Barça.
Anti-Catalanism is expressed in many ways and football is also one of those. It has the largest scale of all such projections given that it is a sport where the impact of messages goes into areas that politics can never reach. Seeing how Luis Enrique resisted this pressure - and literally did what he felt like doing - has won the sympathy of some of us who considered ourselves very distant from his way of doing things. That is his merit: he fought, tooth and nail, on and off the field; and he fell doing what he wanted to. For that reason, undoubtedly, it will be easier for him to get up again.