Barcelona: hegemony worries Cruyff
By Lesley Constable
Johan Cruyff, once the world's greatest player, and the man who put together the strategy on which Barcelona now thrive, is fearful that the club's hegemony is bad for football. Cruyff, the Holland captain at the 1974 World Cup and a Barcelona player in the mid-Seventies, has claimed the 16-point gap between his former club and Real Madrid is dangerous for Spanish football.
Barcelona have enjoyed a record-breaking start to the La Liga season under Tito Vilanova, winning 16 of their opening 17 games, while third-placed Real have been in poor form with the reigning champions having already lost four matches this campaign.
Cruyff believes the league suffers if 'the suspense is over' and the 65-year-old Dutchman is convinced the title is already decided even though there are 21 rounds still to be played after the mid-season break.
"It's too much, it's a terrible gap," Cruyff told Le Buteur. "The truth is that it's not good for La Liga. Perhaps Barcelona supporters are happy but a championship is valued by the tension and excitement it creates. "Here (in Spain) the suspense is over."
Barcelona return to action with a local derby against Espanyol on January 5, while Real will host Real Sociedad the day after. Atletico Madrid sit second in La Liga, nine points behind Barcelona and seven ahead of their city rivals, and their first game after the break will be away to Mallorca.
Cruyff's theory is from the perspective of observer. As a player and manager, he believed that hegemony was essential for Barcelona and for Holland. It just goes to show that the difference between watcher and performer is great.