del Bosque the modest genius
MADRID - He doesn't have the explosive temperament of Sir Alex Ferguson, nor the obsessive genius of Bill Shankly - not to mention the psychological penetration of Brian Clough or the tactical sophistication of Helenio Herrera.
Nonetheless, Vicente del Bosque was being hailed yesterday as one of the greatest football coaches, after his superlative Spain team won the admiration of Planet Football for Sunday's 4-0 destruction of Italy in the Euro 2012 final.
Sunday's triumph, which was Spain's third consecutive major trophy, meant that the taciturn, understated Del Bosque was the first coach to have won the Champions League, the European Championship and the World Cup.
Madrid sports daily AS hailed him as "one of the all-time greats", and Radio Marca saluted his "tactical know-how" and "ability to motivate players".
Cadena Cope described him as a "modest genius, able to get a little bit extra from his players", while Cadena SER praised him for "never wanting to steal the limelight from the players". He is more popular now in Spain than after guiding La Roja to their first World Cup two years ago, when a grateful King Juan Carlos gave him the noble title of "The First Marquis of Del Bosque".
During Sunday's celebrations in Kiev, Del Bosque characteristically stayed in the background, letting captain Iker Casillas and company enjoy the media attention and the applause of the crowd. With his trademark humility and serenity, the quiet 61-year-old said: "I understand the joy of the people at this. I'm pleased that we have given Spain a little bit of happiness.
"I have not spent much time in the dressing-room because so much euphoria is a bit too much for me."
When asked whether his experiment of playing without an out-and-out striker should be considered a success, Del Bosque refused to gloat or score points.
"That's not for me to say. We have just done what we thought was best. We probably would also have won playing a different way," he said.
Yesterday several Spanish media outlets apologised for having doubted the wisdom of his 4-2-4-0 (or 4-6-0) formation without a real striker, which seems to have been inspired by the experiments of Pep Guardiola at Barcelona.