Robbie Dunne reports from Spain on another sterling performance from the little magician and which clubs could be set to part ways with their managers?
It's the year 2075. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are both distant memories, the most recent top scorer in La Liga was a robot, managers do not exist anymore and have been replaced by intuitive machines that make decisions. And yet the debate still rages on: which is better - La Liga or the Premier League?
On one hand, you have the marketing might of the Premier League and then you have Lionel Messi. The Premier League can rely on several world class managers and La Liga has Messi. Many of the top earners in the world are operating out of England while over in Spain they have Lionel Messi.
That is not to reduce La Liga to one diminutive superhero but writing a column on La Liga most weeks is a matter of paying attention to Barcelona’s star and what he does. Fabio Capello named his three favourite footballers in the history of the sport recently and Messi was there, front and centre and in the same segment on "Smart Football" he thanked Messi for what he has given us and wished him all the best with his health because seeing him on the field is important to both the game and to us as spectators having urged anyone with the chance to ever see him play to take it.
He put in another spell-binding performance on Sunday night as Sevilla tamed the volatile Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan despite the hosts making all the running early on. At the healthier end of the table, it is Messi’s world but at the other more calamitous end, the run from the end of October, November and early December can mean only one thing: Hot seats, "votes of confidence" and plenty of sleepless nights as the fresh idea of radical newness wears off and boardrooms start to panic at the thought of either relegation or not achieving the season’s objectives.
There was no manager sacked until October last season and before we reached the middle of December there were five managerial casualties in La Liga. That accounted for exactly half the total managerial changes that happened during the season.
David Moyes was sacked as the manager of Real Sociedad on November 9th 2015 and a man who once sat on the same bench as he is currently sitting on at Sunderland is feeling the pressure that tends to come on struggling managers around this time.
David Moyes during his ill-fated term in charge of Real Sociedad. Image: Alvaro Barrientos / AP/Press Association Images
Gus Poyet has received the backing of his players with his goalkeeper Antonio Adan publicly stating as much but you have to fear for a man who has won just once in five attempts and lost the rest.
That solitary victory has come against a man who was sacked after the weekend in Enrique Martin. The same man who had coached Osasuna on-and-off since 1990 when he started out as a youth coach at the club. The 60-year-old was thanked for his "esfuerzo y dedicación" during his time at the club in a heartbreakingly short statement.
It’s that time of year.
Three from the bottom seven sides have now sacked their manager but with the international break comes a time for struggling managers to regather their thoughts, reassess their options and come back stronger than ever.
Sadly, it gives the clubs hierarchy the same chance to reassess. Poyet might be relishing the chance to recover from a negative run but whether he sees the other side of the break is up to one person. He says himself that a manager’s job is reliant on two people, the one who gave him the job and the one who takes it away.
"The club haven’t given me any more news. We’re always in touch and nothing has changed. It’s the world we live in,” said Poyet recently as he remains calm, or at least tries to in front of the cameras, over his future.
The Premier League and La Liga can be vastly different in various ways but one thing they share is that once the pressure comes on the man in the dugout, it is terrifyingly hard to escape. It’s the world we live in.