Wednesday, August 4

The Luis Enrique model

After demonstrating its effectiveness in the Eurocup showcase and revolutionizing the national team and the fans, the coach’s management model reaches Spanish politics. There is a lot of inspiration in that powerful combination of leader, group and style in the revolution that Pedro Sánchez has executed in the socialist line-up of the Executive.

In the Luis Enrique model, the only and undisputed leader is the coach himself. It becomes the founding principle. It has also become the guiding principle for changes in government. All the parallel wars to monopolize power in the Government, in the party or in politics, which they and the media have told us so much, have ended at once with the sacrifice of all the warriors involved.

Like Luis Enrique to break with the national team’s conniving past when facing its decline after the golden years, Sánchez has cut off all heads and parallel leaderships, wardrobe struggles and ego wars. The socialist line-up is made up of a selection of players who neither intend to command more in the dressing room than the coach himself nor are they going to discuss his leadership. Everyone knows that they are there thanks to him, they owe it to him and tomorrow they can stop being there. In this government there is only one leading role. All the others are secondary.

Another axis of the Luis Enrique model resides in eliminating distractions and noise. The group is what matters. All the players who brought more uproar and dispersion than belonging and identity to the team were left out. Sánchez has followed the same criteria. All the ministers and relevant positions surrounded by more noise and distraction than knowledge and appreciation of their government action have been left out. Most have been relieved by profiles with much more future than past, with a record marked by political and managerial capacity rather than by their need to be protagonists or their taste for being talked about. The socialist line-up has been filled with political players, hardened in a style of play from the divisions of local and regional politics.

Therein lies the third axis of the model: fidelity to a style, to a way of playing. Aware that peace with a government partner in transition depends crucially on the ability to carry out the agreed program as smoothly as possible, Sánchez has filled the Government with profiles of managers raised in the party who are not going to renegotiate the Government pact because none have the political weight that that would require. There will continue to be messes and misalignments because it is inevitable, in politics and in football, but both in the socialist lineup and in the Podemos lineup, those aware that neither the style nor the coach is questioned have remained or have entered.

There is a fourth leg of the model that Sánchez is going to have to get used to again. The model has worked in the national team because Luis Enrique has assumed all the risk. If he won the victory it was his, but if he lost the defeat it was also his, only his. There were no excuses to claim, no seconds to cease, no players to point to. All the pressure is now on Sánchez and he will not be able to manage it solely with institutional statements and appearances without questions. Between the failures and the Prime Minister, there are no more protective barriers.

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