The balance of power has shifted. Gone are the days where players of the beautiful game pride themselves on loyalty and commitment to their clubs. Money and power are now the name of the game. Media propaganda, controversy and hard-nose “show-me-the-money” negotiation by agents has cheapened football into a “Hollywood meets politics” production.
Carlos Tevez : “I didn’t feel right to play, so I didn’t”.
A few weeks ago, then Manchester City captain, flatly refused to represent his team during a Champions league match against German powerhouse Bayern Munich. This enraged current city manager Roberto Mancini, who claimed Tevez would never play for City again. Tevez was City’s highest goal scorer and a stand out player last season. He simply said “I didn’t feel right to play, so I didn’t”. Mancini insisted he could not tolerate such behaviour and even mentioned termination of Tevez’s Contract. Tevez later released a statement saying it was just a misunderstanding. In his absence, City are not short of options when it comes to quality strikers – Dzeko, Aguero, and Balotelli are a force upfront. They also have Adebayor and Santa Cruz away on loan. Tevez is currently away on “Gardening leave” and it doesn’t seem like he will be returning to the club any time soon. City are probably the only club that can afford to pay Tevez a rumoured GBP 250 000 per week and not have him play.
An immense talent, Tevez scored 23 goals last season and could potentially walk into any side. He can almost win games on his own and would be a shame for the league and the game as a whole if he was to remain on “gardening leave” for the remainder of his contract, which runs until the end of the season in 2014. Talent aside, no player has the right to refuse to go onto the field for the team who pays their keep. What good is talent if the team and management cannot even trust a player to honour the most basic condition: TO PLAY! He hasn’t been happy in England for a long time and has handed in two transfer requests.
If Tevez really refused to go onto the field, then the club should punish him to the letter of the law and he should then be sold. It’s not about the wages or that he is unhappy or his relationship with Mancini. It’s about the fans as they are the ones who really live for their clubs, buy out the seats Etihad Stadium and provide cheer and support both home and away. Any one of them would give everything to be playing for the club and for any player to refuse to go onto the field is a direct insult to all fans.
Cristiano Ronaldo openly courted Real Madrid for a few years before eventually making his move. He kept Real Madrid interested by responding to the speculation in the media, showing little regard for the Manchester united fans. Forgiving United Fans also seem to forget that just over a year ago, Wayne Rooney decided he was leaving the Red Devils for Manchester City. For over a week United fans were outraged only for him to sign a new contract doubling his wages. So how loyal is he really? Did he really want to join city or just increase his own wealth – GBP 250 000 per week. Wasn’t he famous for the “once a blue always a blue” Everton Shirt?
Ashley “Cash” Cole
Showing blatant disregard for the rules, his club, team mates and not forgetting the fans, Ashley Cole infamously met with Chelsea officials Jose Mourinho and Peter Kenyon in 2005, while under contract with Arsenal. He, Mourinho and Chelsea were all fined by the premier league for the “tapping up affair”. Cole appealed the decision and but the guilty verdict was upheld. He later moved to Chelsea . What a way to show his “innocence”! Cole started at Arsenal at nine years old went on to win three FA cups and two premier league titles. He also featured in the 2006 champion’s league final. His reason for wanting to leave was greed: Arsenal didn’t offer him enough money. He later resorted to mud slinging claiming the club had treated him as a “scapegoat”. Did you just question Arsenal’s integrity? After meeting Chelsea while under contract?
Loyalty and Commitment – a tale of days gone by
Players these days are all about themselves; it’s about being ruthless and getting as much money as they can. Players with loyalty are few and far between. Gone are the days of Alan Shearer, Tony Adams or even Francesco Totti or Del Piero, who showcased what it means to be ultimately loyalty.
The Serie-A was rocked by a match fixing scandal in 2006 resulting in Juventus and all its stars being relegated. Not going down with the sinking ship, players like Zambrotta, Vieira, Thuram and Ibrahimovic left the club. Understandably so. Relegation could stunt and hurt a career. It is quite admirable that players like Nedved, Buffon (arguably the best goalkeeper at that time) and Del Piero stayed with their team and weathered the storm. They could have made any team in the world and plenty were interested. Juventus made a swift return into the Serie A in the following season.
Spare a thought for the fans
Players these days think they are the wielders of power. Fans are the ones who should be in power: Sold out stadia, demand for merchandise and unrelenting support has turned stars into superstars. Assou-Ekotto from Tottenham was bold enough to say he only plays football for the money. How do fans of the club feel about that? Fans need to take back the power from the clubs and the players. Perhaps then the focus will be on the football and not on the money or the dirty fame.
Article courtesy of Che Junaid Mayet from This is Futbol