I bet you that my grandfather knows football more than I do...
Football is a game, all about passion and thirst to win. A game where 22 players, 11 from each team battle to win. 22 players give all they have in a strong competition. It is a sport, the most-watched and most successful sport in the whole world.
But what has happened to football?
It has turned from a brilliant game where football stars display their skills on the pitch to a business where money is being poured at pretty much everyone, whether a star who graces the field or a player whose form is mediocre. Look at how David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo are being followed by paparazzi all the time; is this football mania? No. It is all about spotlight and money now.
Look at how 10 year-old children are being signed to clubs and have to travel to another city or even continent to fight for a place in the huge and global world of football. You may blame globalization, you may point your fingers at billionaires who are buying clubs and paying crazy fees for a player who will only play until he gets a better paycheck at another club. So it is fair to say that the days of loyalty are far behind us.
I once wrote an article about Paolo Maldini's career in which I stated that the legendary defender should retire now, while he is in his peak. But in all fairness, Maldini is above all, a man who should be idolized. He has, until now, spent 20 years of his career and he still puts his heart into the game as a loyal servant in Milan.
Don't you think that Maldini has received offers to move? Surely yes, but he didn't move. He stayed where he should stay and he became a legend. Staying true and being honest and loyal are as important as having great abilities in building a legacy. That is the stuff that makes a legend!
I shall forever remember Ole Gunnar Soljkear as a Manchester United legend; forever, we shall know that Gianfranco Zola graced the pitches in England and was a true blue with Chelsea. We will never forget Alan Shearer or Alessandro Del Piero as legends who dazzled everyone in the beautiful game of football.
So enough about money! Enough with the crazy transfers and the media's spotlight on disloyal players! Enough with Cristiano Ronaldo's comments! If he wants to move, let him move, and just end the whole story! He has the skills, but will he be a legend with that attitude? I bet if he stays in Manchester, he will!
Forever, we will respect Pele more than Diego Maradona, because football is about sportmanship; football is about respect and fair competition.
Football is a game that remains beautiful. It has gone global. Everyone knows Ronaldo, Pele, Maradona, Roberto Baggio, Beckham and others. The World Cup is watched by everyone around the world!
Call it football or soccer, it is truly and shall remain, the greatest sport in the world...