How Football Submitted to the World Elite

Philosopher Roger Scrutton once wrote that people become conservative when they feel lost. the feeling of passing, of dying, of death. Loss gives them a love of things as they are, a desire to keep, to protect, to preserveeven if all attempts to do so are too late.

I was thinking about this recently when I found myself in an absurd situation feeling sad that the multimillionaire French footballer had decided not to join the most successful club in the world. Why did I worry that Killian Mbabane decided to stay at PSG instead of signing with Real Madrid, a club I do not admire or even particularly like? is the biggest game in world football today).

Because his decision signaled the end of something, and at the same time he realized that something was going on. That was the old hierarchy of European football, romance and fame, or rather my naive belief in it.

European football, like European culture, is governed by a class structure. Each country has its elite clubs, which together form a kind of pan-European aristocracy. clubs that have traditionally been able to get the best sports players for the final prize of the Champions League. Formerly known as the European Cup, this is the European Football Super Cup, the biggest club match of the year.

European football clubs, unlike American sports franchises, can not change cities, but change rooted where they are, which represents not only their place but often also certain ideas about their communities – class, identity or religion. In this year’s FA Cup final, for example, Liverpool fans whistled the British national anthem in protest of the country’s political establishment, which they rightly accuse of the horrific abuses of power in the 1980s. (The police are wrong brought to justice Liverpool fans For the stadium crash in 1989, which killed 97 people 🙂 Liverpool considers itself a non-conformist, radical city, which is somehow different from the rest of England. Meanwhile, for the Champions League, his opponent, Real Madrid, is literally the Spanish establishment, which is symbolized by the crown on its top, which supports the royal family, representing Spain.

This is European football, or at least an idealized version of it. clubs that represent something bigger than themselves, that offer communities stories to unite. The reality is less romantic. Liverpool fans may condemn the political and economic establishment, but their club has long been part of the football structure. he 19 Real Madrid have won 19 Champions League titles (or their previous tournaments). The club was later revived by American billionaire John Henry, who joined a number of other foreign owners with the potential of being the most commercially successful English Premier League in the world. Liverpool may ignore Margaret Thatcher, but the club is a kind of turbocharged Thatcher success story.

“Liverpool” is far from being alone. Just to compete in European football today, you need either a billionaire owner or a global commercial operation that will bring huge revenue to the team, this change has expanded the ranks of the sports elite. European football became more and more commercialized in the 1980s and 1990s, but that changed in 2003 when Chelsea, which was not part of the traditional European elite, were bought by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who immediately became one. Super Club in terms of wealth. Then, in 2008, an investment company with close ties to the Abu Dhabi royal family bought Manchester City, instantly turning England’s third-tier team into the richest club in the world. Three years later, the Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund was bought by Paris Saint-Germain, popularly known as PSG. Founded in 1970, PSG left an unusual youngster in the European elite class, and has begun to spend more than double the world record for transfer value, having acquired Lionel Messi, arguably the best player of all time. .

Most recently, the traditional order of football seemed to be re-establishing itself as Real Madrid favored PSG star Mbape, who seemed to be persuading him to change clubs when his contract expires this summer. In contrast to: American sportEuropean football superstars do not have to reach the end of their contract, instead using their internal leverage to “sell” from one club to another before signing a new contract with their new club. While waiting for him to become a “free agent”, Mbabane increased his value by playing against his two plaintiffs. Last weekend, to the surprise of the football world, he publicly refused to extend Real Madrid’s contract with PSG for three years, detailing his decision. In the style of LeBron James decision: ceremony in Paris.

The selection of Mbape symbolized the preference of more than one player. It marked a turning point in European football, a revolution that transformed football from a continental sport’s own continental elite toy to a globalized entertainment product, the world elite toy. PSG is not a historical club. It plays in a weak league and has never won a major European championship. Unlike Real Madrid, it is not part of the royalty of European football. But PSG now have deeper pockets than Real, allowing the club to pay Mbape a little over $ 100 million as a fee, plus an additional $ 150 million over three years, making him the highest paid footballer in the world. in the world: world

His decision to accept such an extraordinary offer is understandable. But it sparked apolitical fury at Real Madrid, a club accustomed to going their own way. A leading sports newspaper in the Spanish capital has accused Mbape of refusing to attend the club. The Spanish league has threatened to sue PSG over a “scandalous” deal that it says is collapsing the “economic ecosystem of European football”, allowing one club to offer too many contracts despite huge financial losses subsidized by the wealth of a sovereign state. : . (Although European football does not have salary thresholds, like American sports leagues, clubs on the other side of the Atlantic must ensure that they remain profitable, thus theoretically ruling out the possibility of offering big contracts to all the best players in the world.)

The irony is that of all European football clubs, PSG is the most similar to Real Madrid. Real Madrid first created a team galactic In the early 2000s, he used his financial muscles to sign a number of superstars in hopes of defeating opponents on and off the field, winning trophies while creating the most desirable commercial sports brand for American franchises such as the New York Yankees and Dallas. The Cowboys և the Los Angeles Lakers, who at the time were more profitable than their football counterparts. And “Real” Madrid received illegal state aid from the Spanish authorities.

Despite all this, I am still saddened by Mbape’s decision, just as I was saddened when Real began their sad galaxy era, when Manchester City were bought by the Emirates, and when Newcastle United were also in England. purchased by a consortium which included the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Saudi Arabia. Each of these events changed the essence of European football, abolishing the old order, which in itself was ridiculous, unfair, but now seems more simply romantic. (This is an order, we must remind ourselves, by which the German League title has won its biggest club in the last 10 years, the Italian championship title one of its top three in the last 20 years. Եւ Every year since 2003 the Spanish League title with one of its top three In the new order in England, “Manchester City” dominates, having won four of the last five titles 🙂 Even the era before this one, which I look back on, glorifies In my opinion, of course, he was no less corrupt or innocent. Blackburn Rovers won the Premier League with funding from the local millionaire, while AC Milan were unstoppable with funding from Italy’s richest man, Silvio Berlusconi.

Deep down, there is something in sports that reveals people’s natural conservatism. The experience of great players ապր living through the collapse of big teams brings a sharp sense of loss of time. something you obviously do not get with states or empires whose decline takes a long time. That’s why Michael Jordan’s documentary about the Chicago Bulls continues to be watched by millions of people, և why it seems like TikTok is constantly offering me videos of old English Premier League players who remember the good old days. These all remind us of a more innocent age in our own lives.

Scrutton wrote that he had been a conservative since the 1968 Paris riots. For him, the devastation shown at the time was a reminder that European culture was “a source of comfort; what we Europeans need to know.” He was talking about Hegel և Dostoevsky, not European football sagas. The problem, however, is that conservatism seeks to alleviate the feeling of loss, but in the end it can not, because in fact it is a matter of preserving the memory of the past.

I would like Mbape to choose a romance, to compete against the legacy of Real Madrid’s historic dominance, not just against the current football world. But why should he? The football world, which seems to share my instinct, is asking Mbape to keep something that has already passed. His decision is only the confirmation of what he lost, not the cause of his death. Globalization, commercialization, competition have done just that, creating the best sports competition in the world that I will watch with my friends. We will inspire Liverpool, we hope to beat Real Madrid’s terrible elites.

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