There’s something that I don’t want to do this morning, and that’s complain about rich footballers being upset because earning a pile of money to be really good at football should, ipso facto, equal unbridled, unending happiness, a sun without a sphere, a sea without a shore, etc. etc. We’ve covered enough of the effects of depression on footballers to know that just isn’t the case. Happiness is relative, whether you’re a groundskeeper or Leighton Baines.
But that doesn’t mean there is a limit to sympathy one can extend to some of the most privileged human beings on earth. Yes, footballers are the meaty gears that keep the club football machine in operation. But without clubs, they would have nowhere to play. And without fans, clubs would not exist. It’s the circle of life.
This perspective seems to have been lost on four footballers in the headlines today. First, Ronaldo-Is-Sad-Gate continues in the Spanish and English press. Marca offers up the frontrunning explanation for Cristiano’s cryptic remarks following his weekend match. Take a deep breath, children:
Ronaldo’s sadness can’t be cured with money. Of course the Portuguese star feels disgruntled by the wage he is on – €10 million net per year, the same as Kaká – especially when compared to what other star players earn in the world of football.
But Ronaldo is more concerned about respect, affection and recognition as opposed to an improved contract. The player does not feel he has the backing of the club, his teammates or the fans. At least, not the way believes he deserves.
He is disappointed with Real Madrid because of its lack of support as a club in his quest for the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award and also because of other small details that other clubs do for their star players which he does not have. He also feels frustrated with Real’s system of selecting a captain, which is based on the time the players spend at the club.
The saddened star is also worried that his teammates do not see him as a leader on the pitch and in the changing room. He thinks they do not appreciate the sacrifices he has made for the team.
In regard to the Santiago Bernabéu faithful, he still lays the blame on the fans for not unanimously defending him on the day he was booed and for not worshipping him every time he scores a goal.
Of course all of this could be untrue, simple tabloid speculation with an eye to provocation. But if there are even kernels of truth here among this soggy, nauseating brown, someone needs to take Ronaldo aside to have a wee chit chat and perhaps a smack or two on the back of his head.
Ronaldo of course is not alone in his special needs. New Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was “upset” with Andre Villas-Boas for intimating the French goalkeeper will have to be better than Brad Friedel, who was sensational in goal against Norwich on the weekend, to earn the starting spot in the team.
Because apparently agents and the size of transfer fees decide these things, not the manager of the football club in question. Even if Lloris had some sort of point, why make it through a Didier Deschamps-sized proxy? Man up Hugo, say it to the manager’s face, and keep it in house. You have fans to win over.
Meanwhile Clint Dempsey, at least by comparison, comes out of his transfer saga looking like a gentleman. Yet it’s telling how it’s now perfectly normal for talented players to speak of football clubs with century long histories as stepping stones on a long and winding career path.
This is perhaps not entirely Dempsey’s fault; the Premier League money machine has all-but built a wall between certain clubs and a chance at meaningful competition in Europe. But it would be hard as a Fulham fan to feel much respect for the man after so many years of wonderful play. Professional football clubs only don’t exist to make young Texan boys’ dreams come true, in the end.
And is that wasn’t enough, Dmitar Berbatov felt aggrieved enough to burn a fairly important bridge in his career, which is almost standard practice these days.
It would seem the mere inkling of disappointment is reason to feel aggrieved, disappointed, or sad. Surely the psychological nadir of the age of player power…
Some bright spots in Vancouver’s recent slide.
Montreal Impact v Columbus Crew – Game Recap
Canada hoping to end its World Cup drought.
Michael Owen set to decide future on Wednesday.
John Henry blames previous regimes for Liverpool’s troubles.
Raul Meireles completes Fenerbache move.
Clint Dempsey ready for fresh start with Tottenham.
Emile Heskey keen on finding a new club.
Berbatov bitter about Manchester United exit.
Ashley Cole set to miss match against Moldova.
No problem dropping Shay Given – Paul Lambert
John Terry fit for World Cup qualifier.
Jay Spearing still has a future with Liverpool despite loan move.
Carroll’s hamstring too injure to scan.
Milan dealt injury setbacks with Montolivo and Boateng blows.
“Van Persie deal was impossible for Juventus” – Beppe Marotta
Giampaolo Pazzini misses Italy training.
Alessandro Del Piero in talks with Olympiakos.
There was no official bid for De Rossi from Manchester City – Roma
PSG dismisses Ronaldo link.
Kaka ready to fight for first-team place.
Lassana Diarra completes move to Anzhi Makhachkala.
Song happy with his league debut for Barcelona.
Bits and bobs
John Henry’s open letter to Liverpool fans.
Zenit St Petersburg completes move for Hulk and Alex Witsel.
Premier League transfer and wage spending from 2000/01 – 2011/12
Benfica manager tells his keeper to fake an injury (video).
Picture of Napoli’s “dangerous pitch” from the weekend.
Manchester City linked with incredible bid for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Rating the Premier League transfer deals.