Spain’s summer tournaments are dying and the coronavirus may deliver the killer blow
Spain’s summer tournaments have offered us great moments and some extraordinary anecdotes, but it seems that the coronavirus outbreak may deliver them a killer blow.
They have been slowly replaced by the elite clubs’ summer tours in the United States and Asia and they may soon cease to exist as the pandemic has already changed a lot in the world of football.
Carles Rexach has experienced the Joan Gamper trophy as a player, a coach and a director and he always loved when Barcelona’s pre-season curtain raiser came around.
«The tournaments had a special charm and, in the case of the Gamper, it was about seeing Barcelona [playing] against the intercontinental champion, a good German club or an English one,» he told MARCA.
«It was to show how eager they were, how they came to play and, in addition, it served as the presentation of the season.
«People saw the new signings who had generated a lot of expectations.»
The Ramon de Carranza Trophy was one of the most important summer tournaments held on Spanish soil and organised by Cadiz’s council.
«Here, this was like an official title, a party,» recalled Cadiz legend Pepe Mejias.
«There were three parties in the year: the Caballa, the Falla and the Carranza Trophy.
«Even before all this coronavirus pandemic, which will see it suspended, it was on a downward spiral.
«The biggest teams like Santos, Bayern Munich and Athletic Club used to come.
«I remember playing one year against [Vicente] Del Bosque, Pirri and [Johan Cruyff].»
Former Deportivo La Coruna defender Donato remembers how the trophy changed life.
«For me, the Carranza Trophy was very important,» he told MARCA.
«I had already been playing in Spain in the summers since 1984, but in 1988 I had a very good tournament.
«I played the first game very well and the final was against Atletico Madrid.
«It was then, there, when I was almost on my way back to Brazil with the team, that Atletico Madrid signed me to stay in Spain.»
Sadly, as Mejias pointed out, these tournaments were already losing prestige.
The current Cadiz president Manuel Vizcaino doesn’t see any future for these tournaments.
«The summer tournaments, as we remember them, have died,» he noted.
«Not because I say so, you just have to see which ones are left and in what format.
«Brazilian teams coming and selling a couple of players is, right now, science fiction.
«Atletico Madrid participated in the first editions when I arrived at the club, but the schedules are so tight that it was a miracle that they did so.
«It’s also very difficult for someone to pay to attend such a tournament.
«Football is consumed in a different way.
«You do not find anyone, even outsiders, who want to pay to see it.»
Another much celebrated summer trophy was the Teresa Herrera and former Deportivo La Coruna midfielder Jose Ramon explains why it was so important for elite clubs.
«It was the most relevant trophy at the national level for the quality of the teams that played,» he said of the huge trophy.
«You had Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter, Juventus…
«Little by little, it has come down to the point of nowadays.
«Before, everyone wanted to win the Teresa Herrera because they knew that if you won then you would come back the following year.
«Everybody wanted to go back.»
Now, that’s not the case and even less so in these times of coronavirus.