By Sriraj Singhania
The Gerrard’s vs Chinese Super League
1996 – Alan Shearer was bought by Newcastle United from Blackburn Rovers for a then record transfer fee of $15 million. Twenty years later, Manchester United signed Paul Pogba for a whopping sum of $105 million which shattered all previous transfer records.
Welcome to the world of “MODERN FOOTBALL”
The summer transfer window seems to trump the excitement of watching real football. The deadline day is much more looked forward to than the League Cup final. The sale of Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus from Napoli- marks the day the last sane person was bundled out of the asylum. Higuaín is a superb attacker, whose 36 goals in 2015-16 equaled the record for a Serie A season, but he is 29 now and few would regard him as one of the world’s best players but he is worth $75.3 million. Indeed, money has changed the landscape of football.
DECLINE IN LOYALTY
Players such as Steven Gerrard and Daniel De Rossi are the epitome of loyalty in modern day football. Both of them received several offers to leave their current club and join the richer and the more glamourous ones but they refused to do so.
In the summer of 2012, Daniel De Rossi politely declined Manchester City’s offer to join them. And not only that, he gave his reasons for doing so, “I’m staying for this team, for the affection of the fans, because I am a Roman and because I believe in this project,” the midfielder said. “I feel good here. I haven’t asked anyone to leave. What I promise is that the day I want to leave Roma to win the Champions League or to earn more money, I’ll say so publicly.” But the current situation in football is definitely in a sorry state.
To make matters worse, there is a new entity which has further polluted our beautiful sport. The new kid is none other than the Chinese Super league.
Joining Clubs outside Europe is no problem but the key difference between that the current bundle of players heading to China and those packing their bags to America or the Middle East is that players like Ramires, Martinez are still in their prime and coveted by clubs like Arsenal, etc.
Teixeira was a key target for Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and a host of other formidable clubs but he chose to ply his trade in Chinese Super League where he was offered more money in comparison to other clubs.
There is absolutely no problem in playing CSL but if a player chooses CSL over the prospect of playing in PL or any other league tougher than CSL, it clearly shows money overshadows passion in such cases which is detrimental to the world of football.
But then one needs to draw a line between ambition and greed. Players leaving a club only for financial reasons is not quite justified but if a player joins another club in search of more glory then it is justifiable and absolutely correct. Evertonians would have loved it back in 2004 had Wayne Rooney dug out the old “Once a blue, always a blue” T-shirt and told Sir Alex Ferguson that he was staying on Merseyside but the reality is Rooney wanted to play Champions league which his boyhood club couldn’t give him.
There is no denying the influence of,” agents” in modern football. Seen as self- serving money mongers in the eyes of the media, supporters and even some players, they are accused of wielding far more power than they should and dictate the course of a player’s career.
Agents such as Raiola and Jorge Mendes are household names in football who represent the likes of Ronaldo, Falcao to name to few. This doesn’t hide the good work they do. As shown in Ronaldo’s biopic, Mendes played an important role in shaping his career. Agents make sure that the footballers earn a decent amount of money for the service they provide to their clubs.
The bottom line of the discussion is that all of us love football so much that we don’t want it to adultered with all the wrong things. We do love the deadline saga, the mega transfers, the social media culture in football but there is a limit to everything. The passion of the fans like us make it beautiful and lovely and let it remain the same.
Guardiola has rightly remarked, “That’s the beauty of Football. Sometimes it makes you laugh, sometimes it makes you cry.”
Image Credits: Google Images