The world of football glitters with the large amounts of money that are spent on the game. The Premier League is played by some of the best teams in the world and the football it entails is without doubt the most entertaining to any fan of the sport. So, while owners invest heavily in clubs as a business, it is fair to say that they too are captivated by the play they witness every week. The nature of the game itself has changed so much over the years that today for any football fan, the game is almost a matter of life and death, an integral part of their everyday existence. Without doubt, money is what had driven this change. But what is slowly being forgotten is that if football were a religion (and it is safe to say it is considered so by many!), money would be its god, but it is the devoted fans who are the followers. The same fans who believe so strongly in every aspect of the game. And without faith, there is no God! Fans can digest the massive amounts of money spent and earned in the sport only when they see the results.
Are players today loyal to the game? Or has money become the single most powerful factor that drives the sport? The current buzz in the football world is centered on transfer talks. In the recent past transfer windows have seen clubs increasing their budgets and spending huge amounts to ensure they land the best players. This trend was started in 2009 when Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid for a transfer fee of a whopping 80 million Euros, alerting managers everywhere to the possibility of getting big players through irresistible offers of money. It is common knowledge that the same manager, Jose Mourinho, who was once responsible for Ronaldo and other big names transferring to Real Madrid has also in the last year, transferred players to Chelsea and Manchester United which he now manages. In such a scenario, the loyalty of the players towards their clubs comes into question. More importantly, the ease with which money can buy a player brings into suspicion the consideration for the sentiments of a large number of fans who may suddenly find their faith had been misplaced. This being said, many will argue that players like Steven Gerrard, Lionel Messi and Francesco Totti have rejected offers to move and have displayed admirable allegiance to their respective clubs and supporters.
There a fewer players like Totti who spend their entire career at one club these days
The rise of the Chinese Super League is once again creating worry and uneasiness in the minds of European football fans. Over the course of the past 12 months Jackson Martinez, Ramires, Oscar and Alex Teixeira have all moved to the Chinese Super League for a combined total of £150million. Granted, it is not uncommon for big names to play for clubs outside of Europe, but when such moves are made by those who were playing for the best clubs in the Premier League, the loyalties are bound to come into question.
From a future standpoint, if chasing money becomes the primary objective of players, where does that leave this beloved sport? Every time a player makes a choice of money over his allegiance to faithful fans, he raises feelings of resentment, anger, hatred and even tears. Undying, unquestioned loyalty of supporters is what has made football the game it is today. The huge amounts of money available and circulated to grow this sport is a result of the trust and faith that fans put in to the players that they have grown to idolize and the clubs they have formed strong ties with. Fracturing this association will put cracks in the bonds of loyalty that hold football fans together. It is time to make a heartfelt appeal to stop converting football into a money making machine that is endangering a sport so many of us hold close to our hearts.