As one of the more controversial figures in European football, Samir Nasri’s recent three-match ban issued by the French Football Federation comes as no surprise following his conduct at Euro 2012, but what it is indicative of is another ugly side to our beautiful game, and what the modern footballer has become.
We are all too aware having seen plenty of examples in recent months and years of what motivates a player of Nasri’s calibre these days. He has proven it himself, leaving Arsenal to join money-laden rivals Manchester City in the quest for personal successes last summer. Success no longer comes from loyalty, but from monetary value. With that, Nasri has now illustrated how the modern player is also now just as focused on their own image off the pitch than what they do on it.
Traditionally, scoring a goal of the magnitude Samir Nasri did against England in a Euro 2012 opener would have been met with jubilation, but instead the 25-year-old decided to use his opportunity in the spotlight to hurl abuse at French journalists who had previously questioned his professionalism. This is an all too inherent feature of the modern game, no longer is a goal a chance to celebrate with teammates and fans, but more a chance to announce yourself to millions of people tuning in.
Then, his tirade against a French a journalist following their defeat against Spain would have been the last thing the people of France would’ve wanted to hear. Having been disappointed by their team’s performance in Poland and Ukraine, the chance was there for Samir Nasri to take responsibility and look at what they had learned from their tournament; not take the heat off his team or individual performances by putting himself in the spotlight for an expletive outburst at a journalist, thus making different headlines away from what happened on the pitch at Euro 2012.
It also raises an issue of something that is frequently bought to the table when controversies hit football nowadays, of the example players are setting to people watching on. As misdemeanours are now just as frequently broadcast as a team’s or player’s successes, the professional role model that was common in football previously has been lost to players caught up in the circus of matters off the pitch.
The fact of the matter is; the ban will not affect Nasri as the French face missing him against Uruguay, Finland and Belarus. The deterrent of a ban makes no difference, as Nasri will probably still represent France immediately after his ban, and will most likely be included in every tournament squad for the foreseeable future. The potential that it could be followed by a fine also serves as no deterrent for misdemeanours, as the modern footballer earns such a substantial amount of money and the severity of fines is never enough to make any real impact.
The beautiful game may have lost its professionalism in recent years, and examples are now spilling into matters off the field just as much as on the field ever increasingly, and Samir Nasri is the most recent portrayal to the ugly side of footballers nowadays.