Thursday, 23 June 2016

Baby zillionaires and brave Black Eagles

Avoiding EURO 2016: A self-experiment — Day Fourteen

It seems that Sweden is out. And that Zlatan is angry. The super-duper-megastar has come up with the usual sorry referee excuse.

Like it or not, football players are idols for millions of children. And given the way many of them behave, especially some of the very best and highest paid and most spoiled ones like Zlatan or CR7, this is a very tricky thing.

Their eight-digit salaries should come with a clause: Look, Ibra and Cristiano, you get a couple thousand a month, plus a few more thousand per goal you score, per point the team harvests, and an extra bonus per title it wins. But your salary only gets beyond five digits a month if you behave in a way that in fact does give the many many kids who look up to you something to look up to. Capisco?

The thing is, when has any referee ever changed his mind when players, coaches, team officials have protested against a decision he has taken? It is so ridiculous. It wastes everybody’s time.

The worst is when a big team claims that some decision went against it, and that prevented it from winning. Listen, guys, you are super top professionals. You make such decent living from your hobby that it is far beyond decent. So even if a referee does you wrong, chances are that over 90 minutes you have plenty of time, and skill, and strength, and morale to turn the thing around and get your three points. Without having to waste your and everyone else’s time by blaming somebody else. You are the pro, you are the star. Act like one. Think of what you earn per minute.

I have no idea whether there was any pinch of truth in Zlatan’s claim, and it is beside the point. Play football, play it well, and please, please shut up.

The only other thing I picked up from EURO 2016 today (is it a match-free day?) is that Albania is out, apparently as one of the two not-good-enough number threes. And that the Shqipëtars had to wait several days to know their fate, as it depended on results from other groups.

I have mentioned it before, and I will repeat it — as has my friend Ståle Solbakken, coach of FC København and formerly of my team 1. FC Köln, in a newspaper interview: This is a huge weakness in the new tournament structure. No-one should depend on what happens in other groups, which they cannot influence. That Shqiponjat sort of qualified for the tournament in a not unsimilar way is another story. Right now, I just think it is a pity that they are out, even if it would have been a surprise, had they entered the knock-out phase.

Stand up again, guys! You have already made your people very proud!  

No comments: