Russia 2018, from Rubi’s farce to Piqué’s big hand

Spain was an excited country in the spring of 2018. Julen Lopeteguiafter the previous World Cup and Euro Cup fiascoes, had revitalized the team with an impeccable qualifying phase at the hands of a generation that he himself had molded in the lower categories (Asensio, De Gea, Thiago, Isco, Koke…), who joined the survivors of the quadrennium of glory still at an age to shine (the central couple, Busquets, Alba and Iniesta). Despite the bad game in the friendlies prior to the Russian event, a draw with Switzerland and a Pyrrhic victory against Tunisia, the indicators were green.

A week before the debut against Portugal, however, while the motion of no confidence that evicted Mariano Rajoy from La Moncloa was being cooked, the Surprise resignation of Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid manager triggered a domino effect. Florentino Pérez hired Lopetegui to replace the man from Marseillaise and announced it on the eve of the World Cup, unleashing what is commonly known as a cuckold attack in Luis Rubiales, the trade unionist (presumably venal, we know today) who had held the presidency of the RFEF for less than a month. Like Walter Cronkite’s bird, which if it’s web-footed and goes quack is probably a duck, Villar’s successor acted exactly as the look of him intuited he might act: withering dismissal.

Russia 2018, from Rubi’s farce to Piqué’s big hand