Saturday, April 21, 2018

Loyalty no longer has a place in football

Gonzalo Higuain's move to from Napoli to Juventus has raised the issue of loyalty in football

Gonzalo Higuain’s move from Napoli to Juventus has raised the issue of loyalty in football

Recently there has been a major furore about Gonzalo Higuain moving from Napoli to Juventus for a fee of around £75.3million.

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has talked about Higuain ‘betraying’ the Naples club.

However, rightly or wrongly there is no loyalty left in football. It is a business dominated by money and greed.

Footballers are just earning a living

At the end of the day, football is a profession for footballers. Most will no doubt love the game and enjoy their job, but they do for the massive finance rewards it gives them.

Everybody does their best to provide for their family, pay the mortgage, and do the best they can. Footballers and managers are in the same boat, even if it is a very big boat with golden toilet seats.

If most of us were offered more money at another company who could better our fortunes in life we would be unlikely to dwell on whether we were loyal to our company.

We may miss our former colleagues, or in Higuain’s case fans, but we would know we had to move on to better our bank balance and chances of succeeding in life.

Napoli fans will not like to hear this but the Argentinian is much more likely to win silverware in Turin than in Naples. The massive salary will also have helped lubricate the deal.

Loyalty is commendable

It is nice to see loyalty in football, though. Roma captain Francesco Totti has lamented Higuain’s move to Juve. The Italian legend is a rare breed, having joined the Giallorossi at 16 and is still at the club at close to 40.

However, Totti’s story is made more understandable by the fact that the forward was born and bred in the eternal city. It would certainly be harder for a player who has love and sentiment attached to a certain club to leave and move on.

Foreign players or players who have not grown up supporting clubs are less likely to have any feeling towards the club. It happens, but it is less likely to happen.

One recent example of a player showing loyalty to a club was Jamie Vardy signing a new deal at English champions Leicester.

The England international turned down what seemed like a big move to Arsenal to stay with the Foxes, admittedly on a bigger wage than before. However, he would have earned the same amount of money in north London.

It was a straight choice between the two clubs and Vardy fresh from winning the Premier League title with Leicester decided to stay put.

Higuain was at Napoli for three years and gave his all for the club from Naples. The Azzurri doubled their money on the striker, which seems to be scant consolation to the Napoli fans who have now vilified the striker.

Higuain will be a major loss

Last season Napoli was Juventus closest rivals for the Serie A title, eventually finishing second to the Bianconeri. The Old Lady are once again the favourites for the title at odds of 1/ 2.

Higuain’s signing only makes their odds of winning the title more likely. Max Allegri’s side may lose Paul Pogba this summer, but in Higuain, they have a genuine goal poacher and that is why they paid the massive fee.

The Napoli fans frustrations are understandable, as he was a hero last season, breaking the Serie A record for goals in one campaign by scoring 35 times.

However, Napoli’s chances of derailing the Juventus juggernaut in Serie A may have left with Higuain. His goals will be difficult to replace and he only strengthens a very strong Juventus team.

For all the talk of betrayal and lack of loyalty, it all boils down to the fact that money influences everybody. It is how the modern world has programmed us.

Football is no different and in many ways the epitome of the possession age. People are judged by their possessions in modern society. How much stuff you have tends to define your whole status in life.

Unfortunately, that applies to footballers more than anybody else. Who can blame them really?

Loyalty is a dying conception and we cannot expect it from a group of overpaid, more often than not working class kids who got lucky because they had a talent for football.

Is there still loyalty in football?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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