Wednesday, 22 August 2012


It was so funny when i read some weeks back, Manchester City Striker Mario Balotelli met with George Lineker somewhere in Spain, and confessed not to have known George's Father, and England second all time top scorer, Gary Lineker.  Maybe, it's all a bit unbelievable too.  I have often told family and friends that if i had a son who followed my footsteps, and loved the game, he would have to do due diligence, from the moment it is practical, of going backwards to study the game from  at least the seventies - World Cups, the major leagues of Europe, influential players and managers of the different eras. What i find is that, a lot of young fans and even adult ones, with a relatively recent history of devotion to the game, tend to think it all started yesterday. A proper retrospective study and analysis of the game and it's trends would have been helpful and empowering.

A number of managers have voiced opposition to the transfer window being open when the season has already begun in a number of countries. I share their view too. It may go unnoticed, but teams in the lower and mid- tier, suffer the most, as getting replacements when they lose a player to bigger teams, is fraught with difficulties. In a week when David Silva of Man City wants a new contract with remuneration in the £ 200.000 bracket, it is overall easy to be oblivious to the fact that money is not always the paramount influence to every player. Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard represent the heart and soul of Liverpool Football Club, played  there all their career, and the issue was never about money. Steven Gerrard almost made the move to Chelsea a few years ago, seriously tempted by Jose Mourinho, and the opportunity to win even more titles, and definitely earn more money too ; there was too much of Liverpool in his blood to countenance when it came down to the crunch, and he pulled out of the move. Jaime Carragher has lost his place for a while in the Liverpool starting XI, but his agent is not exactly ringing-up Clubs to offer his services.

FRANCESCO TOTTI :  AS Roma's captain and icon, he has served the Club all his playing career. He is 36 years old, holds down the record as the Roma player with the most appearances for the Club at 641, scoring 270 goals. 215 of his goals have come in Serie A, making him the fifth all time top scorer of the league. The Roma fans worship him. He is an idol to them, and most importantly, he is a Roma Fan first and foremost.  In 2003, When Florentino Perez was assembling the " galacticos " at Real Madrid, Francesco Totti was one he could not ensnare.

          " Totti is a great player..... not sure how they  could sign another attacking player.........
             but i just can't see him leaving, no matter how much in debt Roma are, i think  
             they would hold on to him till it was basically essential to sell "

That was Florentino Perez speaking after the failed attempt to sign the Roma Captain.  When you consider that Roma do not have the pulling power of Juventus, AC Millan, and Inter Millan, who have won more titles, Totti's stance not  to join Real Madrid or any other team,  remains an admirable gesture. It is a narrative worth telling in the current climate of transfer  chaos.  It is worth adding that in 2007, Totti was serie A's top scorer, and Europe's goal king with 26 strikes. A world Cup winner in 2006, he signed a contract extension in 2009, committing for another 5 years to Roma's cause, for over  8.5 Million Euros Per annum. Furthermore, after his playing days, he is to serve as a club director.  Talk about keeping it in the club - something i very much subscribe to.

DANNIELE DE ROSSI :  who will forget his left footed volley against at the just concluded Euro 2012 against England. How about the technique to strike the ball with the outside of his left foot !  Manchester City have been chasing this midfield power House all summer,  offering a reported £30 million to get him. Roma, for all their financial constraints did not take the bait. De Rossi had this to say this week :

          " what i promise everyone is the day i want to leave Roma to win the champions
            League or make more money, i will say so in public ".

De Rossi is the highest paid player in Italy, but money does not buy class and courtesy, this guy has it because he is a proper man.  Here is a guy who cheated by scoring a goal with his  hand in a Serie A game, and still had the decency to own up to the referee what he had done.

CLASS : in  light of all the negativity going on with players' wages and disloyalty over contracts, it's very important not to colour every footballer with the same brush. And for the Clubs as well, Roma has shown an example of how players whom the fans celebrate, cannot always be looked at as monetary assets. A club needs to retain players of symbolic appeal. Clubs are fast becoming vagabond institutions , with anything and everything  of potential monetary value up for sale. 
sanity, sanity, sanity, please !!!!

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