FOOTBALL IS CHANGED

A boy playing football with his friends in the courtyard just thinks of the ball, of how he can score more goals than his friends, for him, for them football is nothing more than pure fun. Of course also the most famous, highly paid professionals enjoy  playing a match, but is it the same kind of enjoyment?

They too, started playing just for fun so when did amusement turn into passion and then into something more?

A perfect example can be represented by the brilliant career of one of the greatest players of all times: Diego Armando Maradona.He grew up in the poor suburbs of Lanus with the dream of becoming a pro and play for his national team, but from the moment when he decided all he wanted in life was to be a football player to the moment when he became a pro, some years went by during which he could cultivate his passion. This was the time when he played only for himself, says one of his first team-mates/opponents Goyo Carrizo, for pure fun, completely unaware of the fact those who watched him play were the ones who got the greatest pleasure!

Years later, when he played for Napoli, his team-mate Ciro Ferrara, said that Maradona was well aware of his playing for the supporters, the great crowd who went to the stadium for him, rather than  for his own fun.Of course something had changed. Years had passed, several years, but it is definitely at Napoli that all the world realized what a single person can do for a whole population! When Napoli won the Italian championship, the “scudetto”, a thrill went through the entire city which overcame the physical limits of the city itself a perfect example of this being represented by the words written on the wall of the cemetery in neapolitan dialect : “e ch v sit pers”  (you will never know what you just missed).

In these same years, not only did Maradona leave an indeleble trace on football, but a real revolution took place which involved not only technique or game plans but most of all the managing and marketina system turning football from sport into business, into an invincible money machine. And maybe Diego must have realized this, in Napoli in fact, having the n.10 jersey was a “must” for every fan. There’s no need to say what kind of money is involved in the jersey business today…

But in 20 years or so, so many things have changed… let’s think of the President, the founder and owner of the society, leader and manager, the one who put in money… He could make his own decision, choose how much money he wanted to invest, the risks he was willing to run; he could talk the players out of difficult situations ( and here we could still feel the passion) and today? what is left today? Who is in charge of Juventus, Inter, Milan? Of course the majority shareholder!!

By now, nearly all of the top football clubs are present on the stock exchange, with shares that are worth gold or toilet paper depending on the matches results. And where has passion gone?

Who is the president? No more someone who wants to lead a team, but simply an investor who sees the team as just a different way to make money.

Surely there is still a lot passion around football, there is passion on monday morning at the bars over coffee and “cornetto” when people comment the matches of the sunday… and how many times have we heard people claiming they would buy lots of shares if the had money!!

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