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?

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • March 7th 2013 @ 7:02am
      Johnno said | March 7th 2013 @ 7:02am | ! Report

      Del Piero at Sydney FC

      Pele at Santos and the New York Cosmos

      Maradonna at Napoli

      Dwight Yorke at Sydney FC

      Alan Shearer at Blackburn and Newcastle

      Heskey at Newcastle, (Australia Newcastle).

      Roy Keane was bigger than the Irish national team.

      Kewell and Viduka were bigger than the socceroo’s from 1998-2005.

      Wynton Rufer was bigger than the NZ soccer team in the 80’s and 90’s.

      Zidane I think was bigger than the French soccer team as well at France 98 and Euro 2000

      Wayne Rooney was bigger than Everton

      An ageing Romario was bigger than Adelaide United lol. kidding He was well past it, but he still was massive as he was striving for his 1000 goal.

      • March 9th 2013 @ 4:29pm
        Jayden said | March 9th 2013 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

        Ronaldo (Brazilian) was basically bigger than the World Cup itself in 2002

        The story was beautiful, first time I ever saw him play to.

        • Roar Guru

          April 28th 2013 @ 7:50pm
          Harsh Sinha said | April 28th 2013 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

          David Beckham is sometimes bigger than Football to some dumb fans. Not their fault though

    • March 7th 2013 @ 8:59am
      Tigranes said | March 7th 2013 @ 8:59am | ! Report

      Manchestter United are a bit of an anomaly, their success and brand is such that no player can be bigger than that club.

      Other than that, you could probably argue that guys like Ronaldo, Beckham, Messi are bigger than their current clubs.

      You never really see a goalkeeper ever mentioned in those veins.

      • March 7th 2013 @ 9:16am
        Johnno said | March 7th 2013 @ 9:16am | ! Report

        Rene Higuita, lol. he was bigger than the Columbian team and a goalkeeper.

        José Luis Chilavert the Paraguay goalkeeper was bigger than the Paraguay team.

        Schmical maybe bigger than the Denmark team. Maybe Buffon bigger than the Italy team for a while.

      • Roar Guru

        March 7th 2013 @ 3:19pm
        Harsh Sinha said | March 7th 2013 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

        True that. I’ve mentioned about Manchester United. The role of Media in publishing the news has also resulted in the same. they want to provide the spotlight to the players more than the teams.

      • Roar Guru

        March 12th 2013 @ 4:23am
        Harsh Sinha said | March 12th 2013 @ 4:23am | ! Report

        Oliver Kahn was one of the biggest names but even he wasn’t given the limelight to Munich or Germany. There have been many rare examples as such but in today’s modern football, players do get an upper hand. Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale are more famous and bigger than Liverpool and Tottenham currently.

    • March 7th 2013 @ 9:46am
      Towser said | March 7th 2013 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      No different than any other area of mass entertainement in the world,stars are stars & overshadow,the football club,the Stage be they popstars or actors & of course films.Watched Lincoln the other day because Daniel Day Lewis was playing the part of Lincoln,magic performance.
      Twas always thus. As far as football goes, I even went to Bramall Lane to watch a 49 year old Stanley Matthews not Stoke & well remember Pele & Santos visiting Hillsborough in the 60’s. Santos who?

    • Roar Guru

      March 7th 2013 @ 10:46am
      dinoweb said | March 7th 2013 @ 10:46am | ! Report

      Big stars come and go, but the big club alway remain.

      Pele, Maradonna, Puskas, Best, Cruyff, teams have always been remembered for having these great players in them, but the great teams and great clubs are also equally well known.

    • March 7th 2013 @ 10:58am
      nordster said | March 7th 2013 @ 10:58am | ! Report

      The good thing with the likes of Galaxy, Smurfs and PSG is being able to use player star power to build their own clubs for the long term. The two feed into each other. Clubs make stars but increasingly now the other way…great for building the game in places like here and the rest of asia, and the US.

    • March 7th 2013 @ 4:28pm
      Cyni Cal said | March 7th 2013 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

      While not a club, there probably hasn’t been a better example than George Best and Northern Ireland.

      • Roar Guru

        March 12th 2013 @ 4:21am
        Harsh Sinha said | March 12th 2013 @ 4:21am | ! Report

        thats been the biggest example. In fact, one of the airports in Ireland is also named after him.

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