On September 8, 25 years ago, Clement’s Spain ended. Three days before, in Larnaca, Cyprus humiliated La Roja in a victory (3-2) that buried the most turbulent season that the Spanish team has certainly experienced in its entire history: From 1992 to 1998, football and journalistic Spain were divided between the supporters of Clemente and the enemies of the Barakaldo coach. ‘Plus+ Report I Clemente’s Spain’
“Javier Clemente was not asked.” Speech from Ángel María Villar after the failure of the 98 World Cup in France, where the team fell in the first round in a group with Bulgaria, Nigeria and Paraguay. Clemente’s time on the Spanish bench is coming to an end as told by the third chapter of the Movistar series ‘La España de Clemente’.
In Larnaca, a port city of about 50,000 inhabitants located on the southern coast of Cyprus, they still remember that match 25 years later: “We knew we had to give our best, not to win the match, but to avoid defeat. .” Panayioitis Engomitis, a former Cypriot player, recalled that almost all Cypriot internationals were amateurs.: “I work for a telecommunications company in Cyprus.” His teammate Pambos Pittas works from 7 am to 3 pm in a bank and then goes to training … Even the Cypriot coach Panikos Georgiou is the official in charge of the national policy of immigration. No one can imagine what will happen.
In Movistar Plus+’s Plus+ Report, Cypriot journalist Michalis Gavrielides reveals for the first time a secret about what happened 25 years ago in Larnaca: “Clemente decided not to go to the training at the Larnaca stadium and stay in Nicosia. The Cyprus coach called me when the Spain session was closed on the field in front of my office. He asked me for permission to go and take coffee”.
-I went up to his office and we watched the Spanish team train while we drank coffee and smoked cigarettes.
-Our coach is a policeman, he spies on the enemy and that’s a gift. Clemente doesn’t know (he shows a paper with essay eleven).
-When I saw how Spain planned to play, I started to be more optimistic and that’s how I passed it on to the players.
The conversation between coach Panikos Georgiou and journalist Michalis Gavrielides clearly tells what is cooking to end Clemente’s six years in Spain. That was it.
In the press conference before the Cyprus-Spain match, a less warlike version of Javi Clemente was seen.: “I will change some things, even though I am the same. I will only talk about the Spanish team. You can ask me whatever you want and in the tone you want.” The Spanish coach has noticed his weakness. His end is nearer.
Even Garcia changed his mind
Spanish footballers are no strangers to that environment. They did not stop believing in their coach until the game in Cyprus showed them the end of the road. Cañizares, who was the starting goalkeeper that day in Larnaca, recalled that “we played with I don’t know how many forwards. It was a bad day. Every time they attacked us they scored a goal. That man (Engomitis) made the shot of his life and scored a goal”. “It was a great goal and I couldn’t believe it. I was crazy with emotion,” recalled the Cypriot first scorer.
Morientes says that on that day everything was clear “from the beginning… We knew they were a weaker team but on the field the feeling was that they were stronger.” Then 2-0 and 3-1 was the finishing touch before the final 3-2 that ended the Barakaldo coach. “The mistake was that they shot Cañete’s squad three times,” said Clemente remembering that day in Informe+. Little or no self-criticism in Clemente.
“You can hear journalists while we’re playing on the field saying it’s a disaster” said Morientes. At night, fights take place in the evening shows. Clemente was left with no one to defend him.
“Garcia’s mind is changing. He doesn’t want to be alone. I’m surprised but deep down in the press like that” said Clemente when José María García asked him to resign on air that night.
“When the game ended, we knew something was over,” Alkorta said. “We all thought: surely they will kill him,” said Luis Enrique. “If I have a blemish on my career it is the Cyprus match. We turned him down,” Nadal recalled.
Luis Enrique was angry with Minister Aguirre’s request
Until then Minister Esperanza Aguirre is in favor of the dismissal of Javier Clemente: “Fans deserve to get their morale up again and shine a light on this long tunnel.” Luis Enrique took it badly today, recalling that episode: “Come on, let’s ask for the head of the coach, who has two noses. This is how our country is going, which is strange but at the same time it’s funny.”
“It’s a fantastic team piece and it overshadows the fights”, said Javier Clemente today. “We continue to branch out to strong teams.”
“One of the best coaches in the world, no matter who gets hurt, that’s how it is.”, promotes Alkorta. “He’s one of the best coaches there is in the country,” Abelardo said. “Many years passed and we all defended him,” said Julio Salinas, “because making a team is not easy, and that was Javi’s victory.”
“I went to Ángel (Villar) and told him: I resign. I’ve been here six years and people are tired. And know that I am not afraid of any of you. “I think it’s really hard to beat it seeing what I’ve done all these years,” Clemente emphasized in the farewell press conference.
“I’m still a coach, unemployed, but a coach. I’m the last of the Mohicans” concludes Javier Clemente at the end of Movistar’s Informe+.