For many a player, being called up to the national team is one of the greatest achievement’s of one’s career. To wear the colors of your country, and to represent it at international grounds must be, professionally, awesome.
In the case of Atlético, the nomination of several of our players is also acknowledgement of the great work Cholo et al. are doing at the club. You have to take your hat off to Simeone — his work undoubtedly earned Juanfran, Filipe, Mario, Koke, and Diego Costa their first international appearances.
And let’s not forget about our great youth players, who are regulars for their Under-21, -20, -19, -17, etc. teams.
I am happy for our players. Not only for those who have just recently made their debuts, but also for the ones who are national team regulars.
But, personally, I detest international breaks.
Weekends without league football are difficult to stand. Even if you have many, many more things to do to keep yourself distracted, something just isn’t right. The team trains normally and in silence, but only with half the players.
There is football, but it’s not the same. Or, at least, not for me.
Many football fans can easily switch over to “national team mode” during these times, but I can’t. I have to admit that I am not the slightest bit patriotic when it comes to football. I never have been. I am a football club supporter. I have my two clubs that own my heart, and nothing else comes close.
Many people tell me that because of my nationality (German), I should support every team from my home country in European competitions, and that I must support my national team. I hear that all the time. But I can only answer with a shrug. Maybe I am strange, but I have difficulties supporting a team that is comprised of a group of players whom I totally detest when they are playing at their respective clubs. I should like them just because they put on another shirt and the national anthem is played before the match? It isn’t as if many German players sing along to it anyway.
What makes it even worse for me is the case that, when the national team is playing, everyone comes out with their shirts, floral wreaths, or hats in the national colors and tell you how much they know about football, that they are a better fan than you, etc.
After a beer they tell you that they don’t watch club football, because it’s a sports for unkempt, unemployed, violent, uneducated men (and masculine women) with a drinking problem.
They tell you they will never understand why people cry over something as “stupid” as their favorite club being relegated, but will cry themselves when the national team loses a friendly.
Those people ruin all my fun when watching a match. I do watch the matches, and I cheer for the goals, but there is just no spark.
Even when I try to catch matches of the national teams where Atlético players appear and cheer for them, it feels different. There are no red and white stripes, there is no Calderón, no flowers in the corner, no Indi, no nothing.
And, I’m constantly praying that none of our players get seriously injured.
So in the end, the international break is something to be endured, while counting down the days until real football starts up again….