When players are bigger than the clubs they play for

Harsh Sinha Roar Guru

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    With the evolution of modern football and the rise of individual players’ star power, the limelight seems to have shifted from the clubs to the players

    Isn’t David Beckham a bigger brand than LA Galaxy?

    With a transfer move to French side Paris Saint-Germain, don’t you believe people will tend to relate to the team as Becks’ PSG more than PSG featuring Beckham?

    Some may argue that bigger clubs would always overshadow a player, no matter how big he is.

    For example, Manchester United remained larger than Cristiano Ronaldo or David Beckham or Eric Cantona.

    However, that was the time when football didn’t have a lot of investors and owners from the Middle East.

    Modern football has taken the football world by storm, and is one of the reasons why players have a similar space compared to the clubs.

    Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid from United for a world record transfer fee of 80 million euros. The talent and charisma was already present in the Portuguese star but due to high salary, insurance policy, players’ demands (money being a dominant factor), a lot have changed.

    Ronaldinho was never considered to be above Barcelona in spite of his heroics and numerous match winning moments.

    However, Lionel Messi has become somewhat bigger than Barcelona and the same can be said about the man who carries Real Madrid on his shoulders.

    Barcelona earns a lot of revenue and it can be said that this is also because of the popularity and achievements earned by Messi. It indirectly benefits the Catalans as a part of surplus for the association.

    One example of great business comes to my mind when I think about Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who currently plays for PSG.

    The French government has imposed high taxes on high wages of the players in Ligue 1. So, the higher the wage for the Swedish international, more profits for France and PSG.

    LA Galaxy became the team everybody wanted to know about after Beckham’s inclusion. We know that the club generated significant profits as a result of Beckham’s signing.

    Are the clubs ready to sacrifice their image in front of their star player just for profits and use them for effective business? Looks a big yes to me!

    Thiery Henry and Robbie Keane joined the MLS in USA and since then, the popularity of their clubs and league has increased rapidly. The same can be said about the story of Anzhi and Samuel Eto.

    The masses know about the latter but only some rare part talk about the club Anzhi. Samuel Eto is the highest paid footballer at the moment, but does everybody know anything about Anzhi the club?

    Journalists and the media have labelled players bigger than the clubs and that is one reason why we hear Messi’s Barcelona or Rooney’s Red Devils.

    We often say Lampard and his army has been beaten, rather than calling them Blues or Chelsea.

    We tend to give Ronaldo and Beckham more importance than the teams that they play for. We forget that it is the clubs who make the players and bring out the best in them.

    But the talking point is that when clubs earn enough surpluses from their business, why should they fear losing the brand value from themselves to their star player?