When the football transfer window opens, loyalty seems to go out of the window. Clubs who turned nobodies in to somebodies are left with money alone to fill the gap vacated by their wantaway players.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Alexander Hleb, Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry and Emmanuel Adebayor are the most high profile of these players who appear to be looking for a move away from their clubs.
Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United as a spotty teenager and could leave this summer, five years later, as the best player in the World. Alexander Hleb left the 5th best team in Germany, Stuttgart, and at the end of his first season was playing in the Champions League final. Frank Lampard joined Chelsea as an average midfielder, whose on fans at West Ham cheered when he was carried off the pitch with a broken leg. He has since been named the 2nd best player in the World, winning two league titles, two League Cups and the FA Cup. Gareth Barry worked his way up the ranks at Aston Villa after the club forked out £2.5 million for him when he was a teenager. He has since claimed the record for the youngest player to reach 300 Premiership appearances. Adebayor left Monaco with an unimpressive scoring record, 1 league from 13 in the last season, 9 in 35 the season before, and 8 in 31 the year preceding that. Last season with Arsenal, he was the second highest scorer in the league.
Hleb is the first of these players to move to his chosen destination and when revealed to the press yesterday as seen kissing the Barcelona badge. This is often a cringing exercise at the best of times, but to be partaking in the ol badge kiss on the day of signing is insulting to both Arsenal and Barcelona fans.
FreshLegs.org today wrote an article addressing the current climate of World football in regards to badge-kissing and loyalty.
On SoccerLens.com you will see an article I wrote addressing the problems of loyalty in football today, focussing particularly on fat boy Lampard.
In more recent years, we have seen Wayne Rooney kissing our badge, particularly when we play against Everton. The ‘once a blue always a blue’ stunt from his youth has come back to haunt him, and whilst now looking to be a lifelong red, his badge kissing appears more to be a wind up technique directed at his former fans, who despise him.
Sadly, whatever footballers think about their present situation, money, bigger clubs, more success and new challenges can often lure them elsewhere. Steven Gerrard kisses his badge but has handed in two transfer requests (so the song goes).
Players like Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are sadly few and far between, but we don’t see them giving the badge a smooch whenever the opportunity arises. Scholes scored the goal that put Manchester United through to the final of the European Cup, yet he didn’t go searching for the badge. In recent times, Gary Neville is the only one of these three who has had much to do with the badge, holding it up proudly to those bitter scouse bastards after Rio Ferdinand’s last minute winner. He wasn’t doing it for show, trying to prove how much of a red he was, because he doesn’t need to kiss the badge to let the fans know how deeply he loves our club.
Now we have players kissing the badge of their club before they’ve even played a game for them! Seriously, I despair. Where will our great game end up?
So, what do you make of this badge kissing business?