Spain’s Liga, a Perilous Cauldron for Managers

“Outside of the glamour and the riches of both clubs in Madrid and F.C. Barcelona, managing in the Spanish league is about the struggle to survive. Late Saturday, after Valencia eked out a nervous 2-1 victory over Espanyol, the two head coaches — Valencia’s Gary Neville and Espanyol’s Constantin Galca — found one another on the sidelines. Their handshake turned briefly into a sympathetic embrace between opponents who are both fighting to keep their jobs — and to keep their teams in La Liga. As players, Neville, 40, and Galca, 43, appeared in over a thousand top-level games. They know what it is like to step out into Mestalla Stadium in Valencia, where little more than a decade ago, the roar of the home crowd could make the cavernous concrete bowl throb with excitement as fans cheered on a team that was among the best in Europe. The old stadium still is one of Spain’s most evocative venues, and the crowd still numbers about 50,000 per game.” NY Times

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