SportsWith all of you, the new football

With all of you, the new football

What brought the one who did not come. During the summer, Mbappé was about to get on a plane every day to get to Madrid. At the end of the afternoon, the landing was postponed for a few hours. Never arrived. The first consequence of the frustrated signing is that it ended with weeks of media fantasy, a demonstration that, to carry a good idea, there is nothing better than exaggerating. The second is the evidence that soccer went from being a technical and sociological issue to an economic issue. Whoever wants to be a sports journalist, study economics. The third trend is that within the culture of impact in which we are, even Real Madrid, which is the only known empire that does not know decadence, needs a Mbappé to paint the myth. The noise beats discretion, the economy over the game and the individual over the club.

Messi survives the confusion. To add to the confusion, Messi appeared on TV with a strange shirt and shocked football. He played 30 minutes in his own way, without any exhibitionist eagerness. One day Maradona passed through Madrid at a time when cell phones did not yet exist and he called my house two or three times without finding me. At the fourth I answered and he told me one of his genius: “How difficult is it to find you … who do you think you are, Maradona?” Jokingly or seriously, Diego had a very early awareness of his unattainable position. Messi, no. There is like a disharmony between that discreet personality and the great destiny that was granted to him. He is only a “higher being” within the field; Outside, it is a middle ground: he takes his children to school, he does not make sharp statements, he lives on the fringes of social and media noise. Here is an ancient player starring in modern football.

To be or not to be. Messi with another shirt made physical the idea that he will not go down in history as a Barça genius, but as a football genius. One more ingredient in the endless stream of problems that afflicts this Barça. The club seems caught between the teeth of an economic trap that forces surprising decisions such as giving away Messi, lending to Griezmann or selling Ilaix and Emerson. But the worst emptiness is that of its soccer town, which in a third part has not yet renewed their membership cards. A surprising weakening of identity when the club needs its people most, but also a symptom that the economic drift of football is producing a dangerous detachment. A soccer club has always been a small homeland built with the hereditary force of tradition, with idols that operate as heroes and achievements that are collective conquests. You have to start asking yourself: what is a club today? And what is soccer?

The more money, the less feeling. Soccer was always an entertainment that summons the feelings of thousands of disinterested people willing to leave their money and, if necessary, to make their lives bitter in the fight for good; that is, for your club. Do you remember the classic? A match between proud neighbors in a pulse that interested the world. Well, this season that interest will be stolen by PSG against City, two clubs that 10 years ago were irrelevant and are now state talent aspirants. Do you remember the fierceness of South American football? Well, now they are not even outraged when Europe threatens not to give them the players for the selection playoffs. Do you remember when the idols were called Butragueño, Raúl or Casillas? At this rate, the next idol will be called Florentino Pérez. Ladies and gentlemen, with all of you, the new football.

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