Shades of Humility
With transfer fees of the top professional clubs going through the roof, the European Championships were a welcome contrast to the money game as the power of the collective dominated.
Much of the media discussion about the power of teamwork focused on the unexpected success of Iceland. However, semifinalists Wales and champions Portugal were also successful in developing a strong team ethic that resulted in performances greater than the sum of their respective parts.
The best player wearing the red of Wales was Real Madrid attacker Gareth Bale.
He scored or assisted 13 of the 21 goals that Wales scored in qualifying and clearly articulated where his focus was going into the tournament.
“I’m not carrying any hopes. It is all about the team.
I’m fully for the team. If I have to do extra running for a teammate, I’ll do it.
If I don’t get a kick to make space for a teammate, I’ll do it.”
Off field he demonstrated his commitment to team culture by being an organiser of the player WhatsApp group – helping keep the squad connected when they were out of the national team environment, back at their clubs.
It would have been easy for Bale to default to a more elitist view of his position in the Welsh team. Instead he took the lead in creating a team environment that resulted in unprecedented success.
His humility made a difference.
What is Humility?
Humility represents many behaviours but at its core involves an individual focusing on the needs of others rather than themselves. This includes providing support and letting others do their jobs.
A person with humility will also admit mistakes and seek feedback.
Humility isn’t about depending on the views of others. But it is about being open to what others have to say.
It is an important attribute to have because it acts as a platform for the individual who always wants to learn. Rather than being fixed in beliefs, humility encourages a person to question what they are doing, improve, and be a positive influence on the people around them.
It is an important building block for self-improvement and is fostered in the Uni-Mount AFC teams associated with Top Flight Football.
As soon as a player is too big to listen then development stops. Humility keeps a player grounded and, as seen with Wales, helps an unfancied group of players be the best that they can be.
Humility can come in many forms, sometimes from unexpected sources.
The public view of Ronaldo, in contrast to Bale, is that he is a show boater, a prima donna. He is certainly more outwardly self-focused than Bale.
However, he certainly played a role inspiring Portugal at the Euros.
His strength of words to Joao Moutinho before the quarterfinal penalty shoot out win against Poland is a great example of how he lifts up his teammates.
Moutinho, had missed a penalty in the semi-final shootout against Spain at Euro 2012 and seemed uncomfortable about taking a spot kick.
According to the Daily Mail, Ronaldo shouted at Moutinho: “Hey! Hey! Come kick, come kick. Come. You hit them well! Be strong! Come on! Be strong! You hit them well! Come on! It’s in God’s hands now.”
The impromptu speech seemed to galvanise Moutinho. He took the penalty and duly scored.
Ronaldo also suffered the disappointment of injury in the final against France and was substituted after just 25 minutes. However, his contribution in team talks during breaks was referenced by a number of players as being a vital factor in Portugal having the self-belief that they could become champions.
Regardless of who you believe demonstrates the typical definition of humility, there is no doubt that Bale and Ronaldo, in their own ways, are excellent leaders.
Both have the ability to consider the needs of others at key times.
If more young footballers can learn to do this in New Zealand, we can produce teams that also punch above their weight.
Share this Post