Borja Aranda, collaborator for Radio Marca and Mister Underdog, visits our Twitch channel to talk about the new formats in sports journalism and the present of LaLiga.

Is sports journalism something you always wanted to dedicate yourself to, or did you just kind of come across it?

Borja Aranda: I am not a sports journalist and I always make that clear. I have always worked on several companies out of the journalism industry. My hobby was to comment games and I was good at that. One day they gave me an opportunity at a local radio station, it worked out very well, and then I started collaborating with them frequently. Since that moment, I got a job in a production company and then suddenly I started to shape my profile in this industry.

Apart from that, I am a licensed football (soccer) coach and that is why several media also ask me to comment games through a more analysis perspective. One day they called me from Radio Marca to comment a game and so they have been doing that more often. Also Fran Guillén called me to join Mister Underdog and that is how I have made my way into this profession.

Do you see a huge difference between the new formats and the conventional ones? Which way is the sports journalism heading to?

Borja Aranda: In my case, I have joined the new formats such as Twitch and YouTube after earning much more experience on other media such as the TV. When my first opportunity to be on YouTube comes up through Fran (Guillén), I feel a huge responsibility for the list of professionals that work at Mister Underdog.

I believe that he formats is just a matter of generation. I have to admit that at first I was not too supportive to them. I just did not get it and that was my own problem. I thought I had the truth because I did not like that and so that was not OK, and then I realized that I was very wrong.

However, with the arrival of football to these new platforms, my mind started to change. In the end, my generation has gone through a huge technological transition unlike you guys, who have been born right away with all the new tools available. I believe that we have to give credit to those who manage to gather lots of people to watch them no matter the way they do it format wise.

I think that it is a mistake to say “I am against the conventional” or “I am against the new platforms”. In the end, they both need to live with each other and anyone can chose which one to watch the most. This last World Cup with the debate of Luis Enrique and Twitch should help us to understand that journalism and Twitch are not necessarily the same. You can do journalism on Twitch, but that might not be the best way to grow, as typically entertainment is more effective. For example, there are people who talk about football, but they do not ask journalistic questions.

“I believe that we must give credit to those who gather lots of people to watch them, no matter which platform they use”

How was your experience covering a World Cup in November? What do you think of Spain’s role in the tournament and how do you see their future?

Borja Aranda: My experience covering the World Cup was amazing because it was my first time doin it. About Spain, I think that we have had a bad tournament. I think that our biggest issue was that we never had a plan b because Luis Enrique did not call up different profile players to face off extremely defensive teams, but I must say that I agreed with the initial approach. Regarding to the future, I believe that the Spanish Football Federation have just chosen the most loyal of their employees. Luis de la Fuente is a coach with very similar ideas compared to Luis Enrique.

“The biggest issue of Spain is that we never had a plan b because Luis Enrique did not call up different profile players to face off defensive teams”

Let’s talk about your team. How do you see Atlético de Madrid this season?

Borja Aranda: From my point of view, Atlético de Madrid’s biggest problem is their sporting management. There is not just someone to blame it all for, as this is the responsibility from many employees in the club. The reality is that Atlético are a club with a huge debt that they have been able to lower up due to their recent successes on the field, and that is also because they have sold important players. In the end, they are a club meant to make money, that is their main mission, and the fans just do not get that. It is clear that the crowd is not listened or taken into consideration for anything, as it has been proven with the change of shield and stadium.

“Atlético’s biggest issue is the sporting management”

When the main goal of a club is to make money, the area that is going to suffer the most is the roster, because the strategy is going to be based on signing cheap and unknown players or young promises, but not top players since the start. This is why for Atlético is very tough to compete against Barça and Real Madrid, because yes indeed they have access to these kind of players right away.

On the other hand, this is exactly where Simeone’s biggest quality comes up, which is to take average players and make them compete like top ones. The most visible case is Griezmann.

“Simeone’s biggest quality is to take average players and make them compete like top ones

What do you think of the club’s most recent operations with the exit of João Félix and the arrival of Memphis Depay? Do you think they have enough to make it to the Champions League?

Borja Aranda: Atlético can make it to the Champions League and the fact that they will not play during the week should make an impact in their race towards their competitors. I am loving Real Sociedad and I see them 3rd.

I consider Memphis Depay a good player, but not the striker that Atlético needed, as Morata is the only pure one. Depay is just a market opportunity, but not the addition that Atlético needed the most.

“Memphis Depay is a good player, but not the striker that Atlético need”

I really support João Félix because I believe in talented players. Simeone has not treated him the same way he has done with the rest of strikers. He has demanded way more from him scoring wise, but it is also true that he has not showed up at important games. However, the biggest responsible for him to not have been successful at Atlético (for now) is Simeone.

“Simeone is the most responsible for João Félix to not have been successful at Atlético”

Do you think that Simeone’s time at Atlético is over?

Borja Aranda: I think that the bond between him and the players is not as tough as it used to be. A few years back, you could feel from outside that the team transmitted you something, but now it is just a squad that win games through individual actions. Now they are a weak team and also mentally, with improper mistakes of a team that is coached by Simeone, which is why the message of him does not get to the players as deep as it used to.

For this reason, I am sure that, if he plans on staying, he has required the board of directors to bring new players next season, so he can start all over again with fresh blood. I am totally sure that the club would never dare to fire him. Simeone will leave whenever he thinks that his time at Atlético has come to an end. I do not know where this team would be today if it was not for Simeone.

“I do not know where Atlético would be today if it was not for Simeone”

What do you think of the race of the title for this season?

Borja Aranda: My main candidates to win LaLiga title this season are FC Barcelona. Real Madrid will battle it all the way to the end because they have proven these last years that they do not need to play well to win. Barcelona have just started to do that as well. They do not need to play at their best level to win anymore, and that is why I see them as the favorites. Furthermore, the club has been intelligent with the choice of Xavi, and the coach himself has understood that he does not even need a perfect playing plan, but just to win and compete.

“Barça do not need to play perfect in order to win anymore, and that is why they are my main candidates for the title”

Which team is impressing you the most this season?

Borja Aranda: Real Sociedad are the team that I am liking the most this season, but they are not a surprise anymore. I consider Osasuna to be the revelation, as they have been doing great things recently. I was not a huge fan of coach Jagoba Arrasate at first, but I must admit that every year he is able to improve the qualities of his players.

“Real Sociedad are the team that I am liking the most, but they are not a surprise anymore”

The battle to avoid relegation

Borja Aranda: For me Cádiz have one of the worst rosters in the league. They have very few resources to stay and they are battling for it because coach Sergio González is very good tactically to create solid blocks defensively.

Sevilla are not going to battle to avoid relegation. Their win against Cádiz at home was key. Right now the club is going through an uncertain moment because we do not know what is goin to happen with the ownership. I believe that they will end top ten of the table.

“Cádiz have one of the worst rosters in the league”

Málaga CF

Borja Aranda: I already warned back in summer that Málaga couldn’t think about goin up after being the worst team last season. They extended Guede’s contract for no reason, as the outcomes under him had been very poor. In the end, both Málaga and Sporting de Gijón stayed because there were other four teams even worst than them. For that reason, when you are coming from that situation, you have to stay humble.

“Málaga couldn’t think about goin up after being the worst team of the league last season”

Having said that, I believe that Málaga will stay. The battle will be with Ponferradina and Racing de Santander, and I think that Málaga will stay because they have strengthened themselves well with good signings and they are more consisting on competing every game.

Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.

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