Real Madrid: Thibaut Courtois is absolutely right to light into La Liga

Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid should not have been forced to fly through a snowstorm to play a game against Osasuna under poor conditions.

Sadly, it is unsurprising to see the depths sports leagues will sink to in order to extract every possible penny from viewers and every single bit of strength and dignity from the players who make this sport possible in the first place.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only reinforced this, with players taking cuts that the wealthy club heads should be taking, only to then be accused of greed by those same, even wealthier, executives. And on top of all that, they are having to play game after game without rest, traveling for meaningless UEFA Nations League games that increase the risk of COVID-19 spread.

This weekend, we saw multiple teams in Spanish football forced to travel through a literal winter storm just to play a game of football that could have easily been postponed. There was no reason, other than the usual suspects I refer to as greed, incompetence, and a sickening sense of arrogance that the most powerful people in sport hold in their effort to wield every bit of power over the athletes who are the actual individuals making the game possible.

Despite airports in Madrid being closed, Real Madrid were forced to fly through a snowstorm into Pamplona for Saturday night’s match against Osasuna. The pitch was clearly not fit for a football match, as it was slushy and slippery as the snow fell in northern Spain. Real Madrid had understandably asked for the match to be postponed, and Zinedine Zidane rightfully criticized La Liga for having the match go ahead at 21:00 CET.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had the most pointed comments, both at the press conference and on his Instagram page.

At the post-match press conference, he powerfully said, “LaLiga must understand that we are human, we are not puppets who always have to play.”

This statement should be obvious to every fan reading his words, and it is disheartening that La Liga does not feel the same way about its players.

On Instagram, Courtois stated when there are bigger problems due to the weather, football should come second and that this is only common sense.

He is damn right.

Unfortunately, Real Madrid were not the only team to have been hurt by a poor, greedy decision from a league. Barcelona Femeni traveled to Madrid for their scheduled weekend fixture against Madrid CFF, only to have the match canceled anyway. They were rightfully furious at having taken on this risk for no reason, when it was obvious the match could not have been played. It was unsafe, putting players and staff at harm and also undermining the dignity of the players who were left voiceless to this risk.

Star Barcelona player Caroline Graham Hansen voiced her concerns about the situation, and I will leave her powerful, final tweet on the matter:

It should be obvious to all of us as fans that the players deserve better and that Spanish football, whether La Liga or Primera Iberdrola, failed the players, staff, and anyone else who had to travel under these conditions.

Thankfully, nothing happened to anyone who traveled, but the point is that the risk was there and it did not have to be. These games could have been postponed, and the leagues could have done everything possible to maintain the absolute safety of the players, who were additionally left stranded after the game’s scheduled time in the storm.

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It is disheartening to see how little protection institutions afford individuals and how callously they are able to navigate without any semblance of accountability or punishment for their utter lack of regard for basic safety and even human dignity. Shame on Spanish football’s governing bodies.