Garitano, an ucronía in Espanyol

The current Leganés coach was one of the candidates to occupy the parakeet bench in 2018, but finally Rubi won that selection and the team went to Europe.


Football takes so many turns that it leaves room for fantasy, incomplete or imaginary stories, such as the one that will be relived this Sunday at the RCDE Stadium. For example, what would have happened if Raúl Tamudo did not score in his debut against Hercules? Or if Quique Sánchez Flores had counted on Joan Jordán? Or if Rubi had continued? If Chen had arrived earlier, would he have transferred to Eric Bailly? The same happens, at another level, with Asier Garitano, a tenant on the Leganés bench in Cornellà, in the star match of the day at LaLiga SmartBank.

In the 2018-19 season, Garitano came very close to becoming the replacement for Quique Sánchez Flores at Espanyol. With the Madrid coach dismissed, and with David Gallego as interim until the end of the course, the technical secretariat headed by Óscar Perarnau (Jordi Lardín had been fired as the previous coach) began a process of selecting coaches for the next course, in which he had to sell to Gerard Moreno and invest only half of the income.

The technical secretariat assessed four aspects in the candidates. His identification with the entity either because of his parrot past or because of his profile, that his game model could enhance the players who were in the squad and those who were promoted from the subsidiary, their financial demands and their experience. There were three clear candidates with whom there were conversations: Eduardo Berizzo, Garitano and Joan Francesc Ferrer, Rubi. Finally, the Basque coach opted for the offer from Real Sociedad and Espanyol had also set their sights on Vilassar's coach. Garitano's stage in the perico club is part of the terrain of the imagination.

The truth is that in the short term Espanyol did well, not Garitano. The parakeet club found its ideal coach in Rubi: the team qualified for Europe 12 years later, the squad was revalued and, in many phases of the course, the game was brilliant. The Basque coach, for his part, barely lasted 18 days in San Sebastián, when he was fired for the disappointing game and performance of the txuri-urdin team.

In the long term, Espanyol lived in the thaw after the departure of Rubi, who did not accept the lack of ambition and investment of the club and opted for a dizzying offer from Betis. Espanyol descended and Garitano saw how he was again fired from Alavés in the last days of the championship. Nobody knows what would have happened if their paths had crossed. Now both join in Second Division.

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