In Shakespeare’s renowned play titled Macbeth, the theme “Fair is foul and foul is fair” resonates throughout one of his finest tragedies. The theme in a literal sense highlights the contradictory nature of situations; things that seem appealing can be deceptive in reality. Three witches vaguely prophesy to Macbeth (by telling him he would become King). He believes it and falls victim to his own ambition thus leading to his ultimate demise. The play manifests the true effects deception and gullibility can have on man. From politics to the corporate world, shades of both abounds. Football as a cultural institution is no exception; In fact, it is the perfect litmus test in examining this human phenomenon.
Deceptive Players, Gullible Supporters
The average career of a professional footballer barring grave injuries lasts around 15 years. From badge-kissing during goal celebrations, to a cheerful phizog when partaking in charitable works on behalf of clubs, footballers sell a false sense of hope to supporters about their long term commitment. The brutal truth is, footballers are tempted to trade club allegiance and supporters expectations for varied personal reasons; from getting regular playing time, competing in an established league, winning trophies and most importantly to earn more money.
The exponential growth of money in the football over the last decade largely culminating from an influx of money from wealthy owners (Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich, Nasser Al-Khelaifi of PSG), renowned brands (Fly Emirates, Chevrolet) and TV rights (Sky Sports, BT Sports) means clubs can afford to pay over the odds to attract the best talents. Notwithstanding, the influence of super agents such as (Mino Raiola, Jorge Mendes) cannot be downplayed in getting the best deals for their clients.
In a footballer’s quest to appease a new set of ecstatic supporters and avert the bad press and anathema associated with such money motivated transfers, herein lies the eternal art of excuses (deception);
Boyhood Dreams: From Barcelona to Manchester United, Alexis Sanchez virtually re-echoed the same rhetoric in his maiden interview with both clubs. Renowned civil right activists, Martin Luther King Jr had a dream. Fair play to the Chilean who earns a reported £350,000 a week at Old Trafford courtesy his dreams.
Idol: In 2013, Colombian forward Falcao moved from Atletico Madrid to Monaco for a club record €60 million, the chutzpah with which he stated ‘My heart has been with Monaco since my idol Thierry Henry played there’ wasn’t only corny but mightily hilarious. Dear Falcao, Henry gained “Idolatry” status at Arsenal and not Monaco. We all know the €14 million salary a year offer was too juicy to turn down.
New challenge: Upon his record-breaking transfer from Barcelona to PSG in 2017, Neymar claimed that “I wanted a new challenge. This was about ambition. My heart told me it was time to sign for PSG”.If playing with stars of his ilk in Messi and Iniesta whiles competing against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid wasn’t eternally challenging, one must be wondering the herculean task at hand when facing Payet and the likes of Dijon and Bordeaux whiles pocketing 540,000 after tax on a weekly basis.
Project: ‘Many people think that Manchester City are not a big club at the moment – but they are beginning a project now. Robinho revealed after joining Manchester City from Real Madrid in 2008. For a guy under the illusion that He was Chelsea bound, It is worth wondering what the move to Man City was all more about. Money or Ambition? Be the judge.
Finally, the last vestiges of football honesty and somewhat absurdity ….
Little Boy in Me: Having showed eternal faith and loyalty during the Dutch forward’s lengthy injury-ridden years at Arsenal, Robin Van Persie stunned the footballing world when he transferred to Manchester United in 2012 after a one-time stellar season with the Gunners. Upon completing his move, he boyishly uttered ‘I listened to the little boy inside of me – and he screamed Man United’
One wonders why the little boy inside him never forced him to retire during his injury-plagued days.
Seven Month Holiday: After earning a reported $40 Million for his short stint with Chinese Super League outfit Shangai Shenhua whiles finding the net a meagre 4 times, Controversial Argentine forward Tevez termed it as a 7-month holiday in China. Incredulous Carlos.
As Zach Lowe (ESPN Senior Writer) perfectly summed up his Blake Griffin Piston trade reportage (albeit on basketball) ‘… Players say stuff all the time just to say it because they need to say the right thing at the right moment.
I opine, there is a degree of deception (three witches) in every footballer and a degree of gullibility (Macbeth) in every supporter.
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair” indeed!!!
Source: Terence J. Wood