Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Why thinking you can win against the odds isn’t madness

Nelson Antonio Haedo Valdez went from Werder Bremen’s youth team to the first team, winning the league in 2003-04, and was chosen to play for his country Paraguay. He went from Borussia Dortmund to Spain this summer, becoming the most expensive player in Hercules’ history, at €3.8m.

He doesn’t score that many goals, he creates space and opportunities for team mates by running through from deep and dropping off the front.

But when he went to the Nou Camp with newly promoted Hercules he scored two goals, goals that were big in the history of his club. Goals that sunk the great Barcelona – Xavi, Pique, Iniesta and Villa.

Herculés coach, Esteban “Sardine” Vigo, a former Barcelona player, predicted that his side would win 2-0 – was he mad? Barcelona had not been beaten by a newly promoted side for a decade.

Barcelona had won 17 out of 18 at home last season, drawing the other. They had not lost a league game at home for 16 games. Since Pep Guardiola made his managerial debut in La Liga they have not once been beaten by two goals in the league. Madness.

“See,” said Vigo, “I’m not mad after all.”

“They played brilliantly. All I can do is congratulate them,” said Guardiola, Valdez said: “The key was solidarity and sacrifice. This is a dream come true.”


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