Kepa, Bale and Centurion: What’s the best way to discipline players?


The recent cases of Kepa Arrizabalaga ignoring the orders of his coach Mauricio Sarri, Ricardo Centurion pushing his coach Eduardo Coudet, and Gareth Bale taking a bad penalty and refusing to be greeted by his peers open the door to the debate. Have the players lost respect for their coaches? Is there a companionship in football? Do they think themselves more important than the shield?

It is clear that the main protagonists of the show, who generate the income and who move the global machinery of football, are them: the players. Coaches, secondary trainers, field assistants, leaders, and even the President are only cast actors subordinated to the whims of those who carry the ball on their feet and win or lose matches.

The players know that their value is very high, for some of them they have paid fortunes and are the main financial asset of the Institution, the money that the clubs have paid for them is a letter in their hands to stretch the rope with their whims and attitudes as much as possible, they know that breaking that rope, if the leaders decided to cut it, would be a very heavy burden to bear by those who lead the clubs.

It is much easier to break the contract of a coach, for a more famous and great curriculum that has to punish a star player.

Coaches in cases of indiscipline should be those who have the power to choose to sanction or not the player but know that on the one hand stop considering a player as an economic loss to the club. A player outside the call will significantly lower its value and their resale price and on the other hand, they know that the problems that could be generated in the locker room could generate a wave that will ruin them in the short term.

Ricardo Centurion

Ricardo Centurión was born in Avellaneda, Buenos Aires, Argentina 26 years ago and debuted in Racing at the age of 19 as a great promise. He is a remarkable player with excellent technical conditions. Skillful, capable of taking a rival out of a tile, a coveted player by any club. But his indiscipline is his downfall.

Countless acts of indiscipline have caused his exit from all the clubs where he played, Boca, Genoa, San Pablo and now it seems that the end came to his third stage in the club that saw him born: Racing.

With a few minutes to go until the end of the game that Racing lost 3-1 with River Plate, Ricardo Centurión was called to enter the field by his coach Eduardo Coudet. The player – with a scowl – took off his jacket, warmed up and was set to enter. His coach approached to give them the last indications and Ricardo Centurión badly pushed him to the view of all, arguing that they made him enter only to be insulted by the fans of River Plate for his past in Boca Juniors. Finally, he entered and did not contribute anything in those minutes.

Eduardo Coudet demonstrating authority and group management decided to separate him definitely from the team and make him train with the youth.

Ricardo Centurión cost Racing $5m. His nocturnal outings, his mediatic movements, his habitual participation in the social networks, his own actions and his past have condemned him.

Centurión can today consider himself an ex-player at 26-years-old, maybe he can try to win money in a minor league. But for big football, he is already an irrecoverable player. The player thought he was more important than the Institution, but he found someone like Eduardo Coudet who always supported him until one day he said enough.

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Kepa Arrizabalaga arrived at Chelsea in August of last year when the English club paid the rescission clause of 80m euros that Athletic Bilbao had given him, making it the most expensive transfer paid by a goalkeeper.

Beyond his great technical conditions that have transformed him into one of the best goalkeepers in the world, these days he came to the front pages of all media after refusing to leave the field to be replaced by Willy Caballero in the match between his Chelsea and Manchester City for the English League Cup.

With only a few minutes to finish the game that was tied at the time and go to the definition by penalties, Kepa fell to the floor with a blow. While doctors tended to him, his coach Maurizio Sarri decided to take him off for Willy Caballero, but Kepa refused to leave. Despite his anger, Maurizio Sarri could not do anything. The change was not made and Chelsea were eliminated on penalties.

Kepa’s punishment was very light: only a week without pay. Something ridiculous and insignificant for a player who did not follow the orders of his boss, scorn a colleague and made fun of his teammates.

Here we see that the leadership privilege to realise that nothing happened, financially punish the player with a negligible amount for what is your salary and realise that nothing happened. Meanwhile, Maurizio Sarri must assume his secondary role, duck his head or hit the door and leave because he knows that from now on his authority will no longer be the same before the face of his players.

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale has been unhappy for some time at Real Madrid. His injuries and also his ego have been weakening his performance in the Merengue team, often relegating to the substitute bench or even being out of the squad.

Gareth Bale was born in Cardiff, Wales 29 years ago and made his debut with just 16-years-old at Southampton. He then went to Tottenham Hotspur and in 2013 arrived at Real Madrid where he has won 14 titles including four Champions Leagues.

He has been demonstrating for some time that he is not comfortable, and the departure of Zinedine Zidane and the arrival of Santiago Solari have further increased that discomfort. Santiago Solari has given the title to Vinicius Jr. at his post on the field and Gareth Bale sees many of the games from the substitute bench.

Last Sunday he entered the 74th minute in the game against Levante and only four minutes later he gave the victory to his team after converting a penalty. When celebrating the goal, his companions came to congratulate him and he badly dodged them. Lucas Vazquez approached him to greet him, but in a clear gesture of annoyance Gareth Bale took his arm off and went to the middle of the field without celebrating the conquest his face showed a clear discontent, being a substitute and enter in the absence of 16 minutes was not to his liking and so he made his coach notice and his colleagues.

There was no sanction, for now, no one spoke about it. And Solari? To the difference that maintains with Isco, one of the pampered ones of the merengue liking, this situation with the Welshman is added to him. Although this one does not have the same endorsement as the Spanish. However, for now, the technician has the approval of the leadership, partners, and fans.


Increasingly, coaches see their decisions regarding group management, will continue to align their preferred 11, establishing tactical systems and taking some disciplinary decisions.

But it is clear that the players have the power. Most of the time they abide by the orders and punishments, but they will show their discontent in a way that everyone is aware of.
The players are the main source of income of the clubs, they are the ones that sell the tickets, the shirts and those that with a transfer can economically save an Institution.

Eduardo Coudet was heard, but perhaps his salvation is that he is the leader of the Argentine League and is a few days away from being a champion. But there is no doubt that if he loses the championship, his position of strength in front of the group, the managers and against the fanatics will be different or if your team were in the middle of the table the decision would be another, taking care of the money that was paid by centurion and not confined to ostracism.

With Kepa Arrizagalaba and Gareth Bale the situation is different, they do not respect their coaches or their teammates. They think they are more important and have the ability to do what they want, and their coaches have their hands tied, they know they are worthy players a lot of money and that they will have to support their whims. While the sanctions are only a discount of their bulky salary, they will continue doing what they want before their coach, their peers and the world that watches them and morbidly enjoys these situations.

It is time that the players understand that they are employees, that they must respect the hierarchies and accept what their coach dictates. Perhaps it is time to change the sanctions and that each player who commits an act of serious and irreparable indiscipline pays with his exit clause to the club that has him hired. If Centurion, Kepa, Bale or the one that had to return not only the value of his signing but that of his exit clause perhaps his attitudes would be different and everything is developed in an environment of respect and well-being.