My former Strategy professor and co-worker, David Allen, has a very insightful post on his blog entitled “Frank Rijkaard, ‘Self-management’, organizational ecology“. Professor Allen’s post is not only interesting because it discusses the present state of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, Frank Rijkaard, and Ronaldinho, but also because I think it is a nice catalyst for reflecting on the management environments in which we all work or interact.
The post also reminded me of something that Jorge Valdano said after France defeated Brazil last summer in the quarter finals of the World Cup. Jorge Valdano, who sometimes (usually) talks too much and who at the time probably needed a rationale for having chosen Beckham over Ronaldinho, made a very good observation. As you may remember, Zizou schooled the Brazilians in the art of jogo bonito as Ronaldinho’s World Cup legacy became one of an irrelevant bystander.
According to Valdano, Ronaldinho’s lackluster performance in the World Cup in relation to his stardom at FC Barça only highlighted the fact that Barcelona was more important to Ronaldinho than Ronaldinho was to Barcelona, and that Rijkaard was to credit for knowing how to bring out the best of the Brazilian footballer, something that the Brazilian national team was unable to achieve.
This year, Rijkaard has continued to prove this point while the Barça actually plays better without Ronaldinho than with him on the pitch.
By the way, isn’t nice to see how I can take almost any topic out of context and turn it into a something positive to say about Zizou?