For this reason, “international football for national teams and clubs runs serious risks. At first naive and romantic heroes were trained. Then we started calling them professionals. Later we started training millionaires. Today we train real companies, with different and sometimes even conflicting interests on the same team”.
This is how Carlos Queiroz defined the current football situation seen from the coach’s position. Perhaps, and to put nuances to such a lucid description, it occurs to me that the part of “naive and romantic heroes”, with the due exceptions, should correspond to the entire spectrum of footballers who at that time, up to the sixties? They played soccer in exchange for money, but not enough to fix your life forever. The jump to the part of professionals would already include a reduction of the previous ones, since it depended on the conditions of each country, of each club. This concentration process becomes even greater when we talk about millionaires, a condition that already greatly reduces the census of currently active players, more because of the connotations of what we understand by millionaires than because of the exact number of their contracts; Since yesterday’s millionaires would start at 6,000 euros today, but today’s millionaires start with 166 million yesterday.
When this broth already becomes the best consommé is when Queiroz reaches that condition of companies and adds to it, this is new and disruptive, the condition of being antagonistic to the interests of his own team. I understand that in this section we can only include in a select group of players, maybe no more than a couple dozen, those who you can’t put in the front row of the poster photo because you don’t want their boots showing , those that belong to a brand that competes with the club’s official supplier, but that you cannot hide much in the photo because they are also the players with the most followers and the main asset of what we would call “brand value”.
Or perhaps Queiroz is referring to those players who no longer have the objective of extending their contract at their club despite the fact that their performance is optimal and could seek economic and family stability with this extension, but prefer to manage the end of that contract looking for a way out with the letter of freedom that can bring them a juicy signing bonus and a contract similar to the one they would have at their previous club. All this changes the classic principles of football in which it was the club that capitalized on the departure of a player in the form of sale and generation of capital gains in order to continue investing in the market.
But to be able to look at this magnificent description of the Portuguese coach, we should also look at the fact that the contracts of “non-company” players have begun to be increasingly shorter in duration and that the clubs (also companies and much more if they are owned by investment funds that are looking for short-term benefits) are also looking to fish in that flock of free players without a contract. This causes a drop in wages; because we already know that the more offer, the less salary. We would need to know where we located the members of the Iranian team that Queiroz led in the last World Cup and who with their gestures and words served to give visibility to the terrible social situation in their country even at the risk of suffering harsh reprisals from the Iranian regime.
Would they be our naive and romantic heroes of the 21st century?
PS: For naive and romantic goalkeepers, don’t forget your black jersey this weekend.
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