Despite Messi’s contract extension, loyalty is officially dead in football

Christian Montegan Roar Pro

By Christian Montegan, Christian Montegan is a Roar Pro

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    Football has evolved over the past two decades involving the financial side of the coin, and it continues to do so.

    Nowadays, players have more power and wealth than ever before, which for me is a sign of more negatives than positives for the game.

    Lionel Messi, arguably the best player in the world, has devoted all his life to his childhood club Barcelona in Spain. The club helped him overcome a growth hormone deficiency at 13, paying for his medical treatment. Since then, Messi has given back to them by helping the club win trophies and scoring many goals in the process.

    The contract extension was met with relief among fans, knowing beforehand that there was some doubt over whether he would stay.

    Big spenders Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City offered lucrative bids, which Messi was having second thoughts about. With money the key factor in Messi’s mind at the time, it only shows how times have changed.

    Paolo Maldini. Francesco Totti. Steven Gerrard. Alessandro Del Piero. These were legends that put their childhood clubs before money, because for them it was about representing a club with passion and emotion.

    Juventus’ relegation to Serie B over a decade ago is a great example. Legends such as Del Piero, Buffon and Nedved all chose the colours of black and white before money. Zlatan Ibrahimovic left because of money, taking the easy way out.

    Vincent Kompany and Lionel Messi compete for the ball

    (AAP Image/NEWZULU/MIQUEL LLOP)

    Totti once said, “they taught us in school that family is the most important thing, did you ever hear of someone who left his poor parents to live with rich strangers?.” A quote like this will never be heard of again.

    Loyalty is a thing of the past now, but how did it all come to this?

    1995 is where it all started, with a player named Jean-Marc Bosman who wished to move to another club with his contract expiring. This was overruled by FIFA’s governing body, which is now referred to as a ‘Bosman transfer’ when players leave as free agents.

    Prior to the Bosman ruling, professional clubs in some parts of Europe were able to prevent players from joining a club in another country even if their contracts had expired.

    This has changed the complex of transfer business. Players with one year on their contract for example have the power to force a move away elsewhere as clubs don’t want to lose out on money for the player.

    The mid 2000s came along and it was there where ownership started to be a controlling factor in the world of football.

    Many billionaires have decided to spend crazy amounts of money on clubs with billionaires such as Roman Abramovich of Chelsea, Sheikh Mansour of Manchester City and Nasser Al-Khelaifi of PSG.

    To be fair, the billions being spent have helped those three clubs mentioned win domestic league titles and have helped compete in the Champions League (and so it should), but it doesn’t change the fact that its simply just a game about who can offer the most money, something that in my view shouldn’t be happening.

    UEFA have introduced the Financial Fair Play system where a certain amount of revenue needs to be made by a club in order to spend big, which has resulted in transfer bans to big clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

    However, these punishments and rule changes are never going to fix the problem completely.

    Every summer transfer window seems to read the headline ‘record transfer fee’. Having a world record fee on your back is hard not to think about as a professional, just ask Paul Pogba.

    After being poorly treated in Manchester, he said in an interview that he never wanted to come back. The Frenchman was considered a flop since his move back to Manchester United for $105 million.

    Paul Pogba wearing the Manchester United 6 shirt

    (Supplied)

    This market inflation doesn’t do any favours for any players. Just let them be and get on with the game. Ridiculous amounts of money shouldn’t be needed.

    Agents are a nightmare in the modern game. They are now able to control their clients futures simply for their own benefits of earning as much money as possible.

    Mino Raiola is a real culprit of this. He was able to pocket $27 million of the transfer money for Paul Pogba’s move from Juventus to Manchester United.

    Just recently, young teenage goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma stated that he wanted to stay at AC Milan for life and be captain one day because he was a supporter growing up. He refused a $6 million contract extension, simply because he had Raiola whispering in his ear encouraging him to move to Real Madrid or PSG because of the promise of more money.

    That money being spent on already rich agents should be going towards better causes such as the grassroots setup at youth academies.

    It sums up what is wrong with modern day football.

    I understand that large amounts of money being thrown around can help small clubs kick on and create a healthy economy in world football, but don’t expect loyalty to appear at your favourite club.

    Unfortunately, Messi’s attachment to one club will most definitely be the last we witness.

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    The Crowd Says (108)

    • July 9th 2017 @ 7:10am
      Swanny said | July 9th 2017 @ 7:10am | ! Report

      Did u just figure it out that there is no loyalty in football. Good one Einstein

      • Roar Pro

        July 9th 2017 @ 8:28am
        Christian Montegan said | July 9th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        For Messi to hesitate about signing a new contract proves that it loyalty is officially dead

        • July 9th 2017 @ 9:48am
          jeff dustby said | July 9th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

          it died 35 years ago

          • July 9th 2017 @ 10:18am
            platypusFC said | July 9th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

            don’t tell him that. world will come crashing down

          • July 9th 2017 @ 7:59pm
            LuckyEddie said | July 9th 2017 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

            Yes it sure did and now is in danger of becoming a souless greed machine that will implode when the mugs stop paying for pay TV, buying over priced jerseys and paying big money to go out to games. The players, mangers, administrators and even most commentators are in it just for the money and not just good money big money. Problem is to get it they are sucking workers on average money dry and the Ponzi scheme will inevitably collapse. This greed machine relies heavily on pay TV and if you look at the USA companies like ESPN are losing a lot of customers and the same will happen in Europe and here. The result will be players being happy with well $50k a week instead of $150k then we will see how dedicated these players are.

        • July 9th 2017 @ 10:12am
          BangkokDavies said | July 9th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          But I ask the question, why does Messi make it “official”? Plus unless you’re an official employee of Barcelona, Messi’s agent, his family or Messi himself I don’t think you can comment on why he hesitated. It’s a murky area of football.

    • July 9th 2017 @ 9:00am
      Waz said | July 9th 2017 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      And the point of writing this article is?

      • July 9th 2017 @ 10:18am
        platypusFC said | July 9th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

        i think many posters have realised in the last few weeks that this author is a dismal writer. this article perfect example of why.

        how come loyalty dies with messi, plenty of other examples of players leaving their boyhood clubs,

        • Roar Pro

          July 9th 2017 @ 10:44am
          Christian Montegan said | July 9th 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report

          Because Messi has always wanted to end his career at Barca. Yes, I could have added more examples but how many would you of wanted me to name ?

          • July 9th 2017 @ 10:55am
            Waz said | July 9th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

            I’m sorry Christian but I still question the point this article is trying to make?

            Let me ask you this – have you worked for the same company all your life? Do you expect everyone in Australia to show loyalty to one company and never leave even if a better opportunity comes up?

            I’d say no you wouldn’t; so why would you expect footballers to be any different? As fans our teams sometimes lose our favourite players, and sometimes we gain them, that is a normal and a reasonable position.

            Players who move between clubs are not being “disloyal” they are just normal people moving between employers; to expect anything else when you yourself would (probably) change employers tomorrow if you were offered way more money is, well, it’s kind of hypocritical of any fan to demand “loyalty” when they themselves don’t show it in their work. We are all human.

            • Roar Pro

              July 9th 2017 @ 11:18am
              Christian Montegan said | July 9th 2017 @ 11:18am | ! Report

              @waz let me ask you this…
              If you supported a certain club at a young age and had a dream to be captain one day or be regarded as a legend and you decided to move because of money.
              Would that be right ?

              • July 9th 2017 @ 11:46am
                Waz said | July 9th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

                Yes it would Christian; as a child we have many dreams and hopes which evolve and change as we grow. And it’s certainly not “disloyal” to move for more money which is perfectly normal.

                You have yet to say whether you would remain loyal in your current job or whether you would move for more money? Or indeed whether you should stay and work in your “home town” out of loyalty rather than move away? And finally, whether the job you dreamed of when you were a kid should be the only job you should do otherwise you are disloyal?

                Perhaps this is the point of the article then Christian – you yourself have changed job for more money, you no longer work in your home town, and you’re not doing the job you dreamed of as a boy (Astronaut, tough gig hey …) so the article is actually more about you than say Messi?

                So maybe you’re feeling guilty about your own “disloyalty” and are using footballers as a proxy to explain your own feelings. That’s deep man, deep!

              • Roar Pro

                July 9th 2017 @ 5:37pm
                Christian Montegan said | July 9th 2017 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

                If it was my dream job and I decided to move jobs because of better pay then I think it isn’t right. (Especially if I don’t enjoy the job offered to me)

            • July 9th 2017 @ 7:41pm
              LuckyEddie said | July 9th 2017 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

              How can you compare someone who is employed by BHP etc with professional mercenary footballers? I don’t know about you but I don’t go to workplaces and cheer for doctors, engineers etc. and I certainly do not buy their replica operating theatre gowns. What the journo is say ing is quite simple in that to get the big money the players and clubs rely on the average mug handing over their hard earned money. On top of that to satisfy the greed some people even get pay tv to donate more to the greed club. I’m surprised the ave mug has not woken up that the players do not at all care about the club, just the next big earner. Then the greed machine come back with stupid remarks like ‘it’s only a short career’. Well go and get a job like the rest of us instead of sucking us dry. The journo has a point but it could have been better worded.

          • July 9th 2017 @ 11:08am
            platypusFC said | July 9th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

            but you have not the answered my question

            why does the term “loyalty in football” die with Messi? you said there are plenty of other examples, then why did loyalty not die when these footballers moved clubs?

            this has been happening for years and years. nothing new.

            • Roar Pro

              July 9th 2017 @ 11:16am
              Christian Montegan said | July 9th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

              @platypusFC More players are moving for the money and are just sitting around looking at their bank account.
              Look at how many players have moved to China in the past year.
              Messi will be the last one club man

              • July 9th 2017 @ 11:48am
                Waz said | July 9th 2017 @ 11:48am | ! Report

                I once worked in Beijing for 3 years. Am I disloyal?

              • July 9th 2017 @ 12:18pm
                platypusFC said | July 9th 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

                shame on you for accepting another job for wanting

                – better salary
                – better lifestyle
                – wanting to experience another culture or country

              • July 9th 2017 @ 12:16pm
                platypusFC said | July 9th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

                More players are moving for the money and are just sitting around looking at their bank account.

                people everywhere do this!

                accountants. tradies. doctors. lawyers. engineers. teachers. bankers.

                everyone.

                and how on earth is Messi the last one club man?!?!

                what a stupid ignorant statement. do you realise how stupid you sound!

              • July 9th 2017 @ 12:23pm
                platypusFC said | July 9th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

                saul niguez joined atletico madrid as a 14 year old.

                he’s now 23 and signed a 9 year contract. does he count? or not as he’s not a ‘world famous’ player.

              • July 9th 2017 @ 12:29pm
                platypusFC said | July 9th 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

                seriously you do realise how stupid and ignorant you sound?

                not to mention the errors in your writing. far out. do your homework.

              • Roar Pro

                July 9th 2017 @ 5:38pm
                Christian Montegan said | July 9th 2017 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

                Well only time will tell if he moves from atletico…
                A 9 year contract means nothing now

              • July 9th 2017 @ 12:53pm
                greenbridge1930 said | July 9th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

                “Look at how many players have moved to China in the past year.”

                Sounds like loyalty in football died long before Messi resigned with Barcelona.

              • July 9th 2017 @ 6:47pm
                Al-Shazahd said | July 9th 2017 @ 6:47pm | ! Report

                “”Well only time will tell if he moves from atletico…
                A 9 year contract means nothing now””

                9 year contract means nothing now? By your logic then Messi resigning with Barcelona means nothing now. Any player resigning with their club means nothing now.

                How can you say Messi will be the last one man club player. Messi has not announced his retirement. He is still playing. He could play for another club.

              • July 9th 2017 @ 7:02pm
                Al-Shazahd said | July 9th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

                “”Messi will be the last one club man””

                Far out. You really are thick as mud.

    • July 9th 2017 @ 9:07am
      Mark said | July 9th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      Christian…a friendly hint for you when writing future articles. Don’t undermine them by making basic factual errors. For example, Barca, Madrid and Atletico did not receive transfer bans for breaching UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations. They received them for breaching FIFA regulations on the transfers of minors. Of Spanish clubs, from my understanding, only Malaga has been sanctioned under FFP.

    • July 9th 2017 @ 9:58am
      RBBAnonymous said | July 9th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      I think you are confused about what contracts are actually about. They are mutual agreements between two parties. The operative word being “mutual”. The way you have framed the article you have placed the “problem” solely on the players, the clubs if anything are even more culpable.

      We do not know the inner workings of contract negotiations unless one or both parties decide to spill the beans. What if Barcelona decided to give Messi a pay cut or substantially less money than another club was offering without anyone knowing, would you still expect him to sign.

      Clubs are just as guilty as players of showing disloyalty to a player. I have seen it time and time again, so I would tread a little more carefully before you write such a biased and one sided article.

      • July 9th 2017 @ 12:55pm
        greenbridge1930 said | July 9th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        Nope. Barcelona did nothing wrong. Messi was being disloyal to his childhood club because Christian said so. And that is why loyalty is “officially” dead as opposed to nearly everyone with half a brain knowing this a long time ago.

    • July 9th 2017 @ 10:10am
      BangkokDavies said | July 9th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      Good morning Christian

      “Unfortunately, Messi’s attachment to one club will most definitely be the last we witness.”

      Why is loyalty “officially dead” in football because of Messi? Why such a statement based on one football player, confusing to say the least.

      Messi will most definitely NOT be the last one. There are plenty of other ‘one club’ players, some more famous than others.

      • Roar Pro

        July 9th 2017 @ 5:39pm
        Christian Montegan said | July 9th 2017 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

        Like who…

        • July 9th 2017 @ 6:58pm
          Al-Shazahd said | July 9th 2017 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

          Really? You want a list of active players who have stayed at one club? Just a few examples:

          Andy King at Leicester City since 2006, now 28 years of age

          Thomas Muller at Bayern Munich since 2008, now 27 years of age

          Daniele de Rossi at Roma since 2001, now 33 years of age

          Igor Akinfeev at CSKA Moscow since 2003, now 31 years of age

          Stop showing your stupidity on this website.

          Benedikt Höwedes at Schalke since 2007, now 29 years of age

          Rui Patricio at Sporting since 2006, now 29 years of age

          Loïc Perrin at Saint Etienne since 2003, now 31 years of age

          • July 9th 2017 @ 7:28pm
            Al-Shazahd said | July 9th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

            Are they enough big boy? Would you like more names?

            • July 9th 2017 @ 7:53pm
              Al-Shazahd said | July 9th 2017 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

              I also forgot Messi’s two team mates

              Sergio Busquets at Barcelona since 2007, now aged 28

              Andres Iniesta at Barcelona since 2001, now aged 33

          • Roar Pro

            July 9th 2017 @ 8:48pm
            Christian Montegan said | July 9th 2017 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

            The only players that are world class on that list for me are Muller, De Rossi, Busquets and Iniesta

            – Muller wanted to leave Bayern and move to man united (main reason why he performed badly last season)
            – De Rossi admitted that he regrets staying at Roma
            – Busquets and Iniesta I agree with you on. Maybe I should’ve said loyalty will be officially dead once the Barcelona era ends 🙂

            • July 9th 2017 @ 9:03pm
              Al-Shazahd said | July 9th 2017 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

              So you have now changed your statement to include WORLD CLASS players as you initially and ridiculously stated “Messi will be the last one club man”. No mention of WORLD CLASS in your statements.

              Did you not initially ask BangkokDavies to list any one club players?

              Howedes is under rated. A man who played out of position and involved in every single minute of Germany’s victorious 2014 World Cup Campaign. Part of Germany’s last two Euro campaigns too.

              “De Rossi admitted that he regrets staying at Roma”

              So what? Regardless of what he regrets today de Rossi will now be remembered as a one club player, just like Messi and he will not be the last one.

              “Busquets and Iniesta I agree with you on.”

              Does this mean you are correcting yourself on saying Messi will no longer be the last one club man?

              “Maybe I should’ve said loyalty will be officially dead once the Barcelona era ends ”

              The sky is also blue.

              • July 9th 2017 @ 9:39pm
                Al-Shazahd said | July 9th 2017 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

                “”Unfortunately, Messi’s attachment to one club will most definitely be the last we witness.””

                This is your last sentence in your article.

                No mention of WORLD CLASS anywhere. Just a player’s attachment to their club. Same level of attachment as… for example Andy King at Leicester City.

        • July 9th 2017 @ 6:59pm
          Al-Shazahd said | July 9th 2017 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

          Plus could you actually address the posters’ questions? You just look like a peanut ignoring their posts and a big reason why not many take you seriously here.

          • July 10th 2017 @ 9:22am
            chris said | July 10th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

            He really gets under your skin doesn’t he?

    • July 9th 2017 @ 10:15am
      northerner said | July 9th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

      Christian – you are correct in saying that at one point, pre Bosman, clubs within UEFA could demand a transfer fee even after a player was out of contract. But you are incorrect in saying “this was overruled by FIFA’s governing body, which is now referred to as a ‘Bosman transfer’ when players leave as free agents. ” The ruling was made by the European Court of Justice, not FIFA, and it basically freed players from indentured servitude to a club they didn’t want to stay with once their contract was over. Perhaps the concept of loyalty died when UEFA, and by extension, FIFA, allowed clubs to run roughshod over the rights of players to exercise free choice. Loyalty is, after all, a two way street.

      • July 9th 2017 @ 10:58am
        Waz said | July 9th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        Correct. Imagine if you had a 3 year contract with BHP and at the successful end of that contract BHP could prevent you leaving and going to work for another company. We ourselves would not accept that as being reasonable so why does Christian think it’s reasonable to impose it upon footballers lol 😂

        • July 9th 2017 @ 12:59pm
          greenbridge1930 said | July 9th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

          “Zlatan Ibrahimovic left because of money, taking the easy way out.”

          Do not underestimate this author (does he even deserve to be called one) because he is best mates with Zlatan. Maybe Zlatan wanted to leave an incompetent club that had relegated itself to Serie B. Maybe he wanted to test himself on a bigger stage. Maybe.

        • July 9th 2017 @ 8:07pm
          LuckyEddie said | July 9th 2017 @ 8:07pm | ! Report

          Your job at BHP is not funded by pay TV and mugs do not pay to watch the BHP worker or buy a replica of his work gear and he is not representing your town. I have no problem with a real worker moving on for money but footballers are only getting paid big money by sucking the mugs dry and that is annoying. Players rely on the passion of the local club members and pay TV subscriptions to get the big money but will turn their back on them at the drop of a hat.

          • July 9th 2017 @ 8:14pm
            Nemesis said | July 9th 2017 @ 8:14pm | ! Report

            Totally disagree. Professional sport is a job. Like all workers, some choose to chase the biggest wage, others the most prestigious organisations, others enjoy working in their home country close to family & friends; etc. etc.

            If fans start worshipping individual players that says more about the immaturity of fans, than the professionalism or loyalty of players.

            Players don’t owe fans anything except giving full commitment when working. They don’t owe loyalty to clubs, or fans. They just have to please themselves & their families.

            • July 10th 2017 @ 6:42pm
              LuckyEddie said | July 10th 2017 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

              The players only commitment is lining their already bulging pockets.

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