Today I’ve read an article of the portuguese newspaper ‘O JOGO’, written by Álvaro Magalhães - who was a former Benfica player and is the current manager of a portuguese 2nd league Gil Vicente – and he wrote a rather interesting article about how fans feel when the rival of their team is playing an international competition. He explains that when Sevilla took Benfica in the 2014 Europa League Final, Porto fans were cheering for Sevilla. Same way as when Benfica took Celtic in the 2012 Champions League Group Stage, Rangers fans were cheering for Benfica.
This means that, for example, if you’re an Arsenal fan, you want Tottenham to lose in european tournaments. Same goes for any fan that wants their team’s rival to lose, when playing in european stages. And Álvaro defends that, if this doesn’t happen, you’re not really a supporter of your club. So, basically, if you’re not anti-Tottenham, you’re not a real Arsenal fan.
My question is: is football about supporting your own team in national and european tournaments, or supporting the teams that play against your team’s rival? I mean, I do understand that you want your rival to lose points for championship, because it may affect your position in the league, but when it comes to international or european stage, do you really care that much that your team’s rival loses?
I’m not defending that argument that if you don’t support the teams from your country in international/european stages you’re not faithful to your country. Specially because I don’t think that patriotism has nothing to do with football. What I think is that ‘antitism’ (being anti-something) is one of the biggest flaws in football. In my opinion, if you hate a rival as much as you love your own club, you’re NOT a football fan, and you don’t enjoy football. You enjoy conflict. And when someone tells me that, for exemple, if I support Real Madrid then I have to hate Barcelona, I feel sick because that’s the most disturbing, shameful, poorly substantiated, stupid and annoying argument related to fooball that I’ve heard in my entire life.
Although, some people still defend this argumente, and feel the as way Álvaro does: “If it wasn’t like this, fans wouldn’t be fans, and football wouldn’t be football”.