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About Me:I am a Year 13 student which aspires to be an architect. I am interested in anything I don't yet know, and I mostly write about art, politics , Italian culture and inspirational people, although I will try to write for as many categories possible, just to test myself and get to know more things.
In our modern times, everything seems to have become strictly about money and finance. Even the most popular and oldest sport, football, is following this trend. Nowadays everything in football is tied to successful investments, capital maximisation and huge profits.
Many people wonder, including myself, if among the multi-million profits there is any space left for the love and the passion that have always characterised this unique sport.
Past are the days where footballers would not only play for the club, but also become a fan, lover and legend of that club. Many of us have perhaps watched football legend such as Puyol, Maldini, Scholes and Giggs play over the course of their careers. Some of us may have grown up knowing that they were established legends whereas others have perhaps witnessed their rise from the youth squad and take over the first team leading the club to many victories. Maldini, for example, has played all of his 25 seasons as a footballer with AC Milan and has become a symbol of the club, just like Ryan Giggs, who played 24 seasons at Manchester United, and Puyol, who played 15 seasons at FC Barcelona. Currently there are just a handful of one-club players such as Francesco Totti, which has spent 24 years at Italian club A.S Roma and Andres Iniesta, which has played for F.C. Barcelona for 14 years, and the presence of one-club players is soon going to be a rarity among football clubs.
This reality of one-club players is today dissolving because the priorities of football clubs are evolving and the sport itself is significantly changing. In the past, where clubs where still multi-billion businesses, football was about the love and the passion which both supporters and players had for the club. In previous years, football was obviously about money, but what had more relevance was the feeling of belonging that fans had towards their club, and the support for their club was a part of their own identity. We have seen many players that have sacrificed their careers and decided to stay in the club that made them great rather than hunt success somewhere else.
Francesco Totti has been at Italian club A.S. Roma for his entire career; he is undoubtedly one of Italy’s finest strikers of all time, and he is Serie A Active Appearance Maker with 601 games played. Totti is the club’s legend and hero, and he was often linked with a move to football Spanish giants Real Madrid C.F., with the chance to win everything, but he decided to stay at Roma for the rest of his career despite winning only one Serie A title, in 2001. The love for the club that made him one of the greatest footballers alive has always been greater than fame and money. He has always been proud about rejecting offers from other clubs because his heart was with A.S. Roma and he was the idol of hundreds of thousands of supporters and young footballers.
Francesco Totti, Paolo Maldini, Ryan Giggs and many other one-club footballers are inspirational, because through their commitment and passion have become protagonists of their clubs’ successes, and through their moral integrity have fought for their clubs through tough times.
However remarkable one-club men are, football is still a business, money are still spent, titles are still won and transfers are made; but what we are witnessing nowadays is the ease with which players move from one club to the other with no attachment to the fans and the club itself. Nowadays footballers are just employees, which seek for the richest contracts and the most popular clubs. This is because football is becoming an incredibly high-grossing business, and this is visible by the enormous amount each club spends each year to strengthen their squad. Clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United are worth more than $3 bn and this shows their economic power of smaller clubs.
Today’s football is all about the tens of millions of pounds spent to buy the most promising player, the sale shirts, the titles and the investments of club owners and to my eyes it seems that money is overtaking the real support and the real love for the game. Clubs like Paris Saint-Germain F.C. and Manchester City F.C. have only recently gained attention due to the investments of billionaires that have boosted the finances of the club and have filled their team with world-class players within a few years.
Among the millions of pounds spent, is there any passion left? Is the support merely based on the club’s yearly achievements?
The recent phenomena of “glory-hunters” shows that nowadays football fans only care about the silverware and the titles won; they do not identify with their club and they have started to support the club because they have the money, they have the players and they have the trophies. The “glory-hunters” are the killers of the passion for the game, and they encourage a game where footballers have no heart and no attachment to the clubs and fans that idolise them.
However, at the end of the day, what matters is not the amount of millions of pounds spent, the profit of shirt sales, the trophies won, the players or the managers. At the end of the day what should really matters in football is the love for the club, for its jersey, for its heroes, for its badge and, most importantly, for the game.