This week’s outrageous transfer of Neymar to Paris St Germain for an astronomical fee of €222m is just another nail in the coffin of the beautiful game as we know it.
Fair enough you can slam Neymar for taking the money but the sums offered to him would be hard for anybody to turn down even though the Brazilian already has millions in the bank.
The problem is the financial lengths clubs are willing to go to to get their men, with money seemingly no object.
Neymar has won all the major honours available to him at Barcelona, is playing with the greatest player arguably ever to set foot on a football pitch in Lionel Messi and at the Nou Camp has one of the biggest stages in world football to showcase his undoubted talent. Why would he be willing to give that up?
Maybe we can make the argument that he needs to step outside the comfort zone of the success he has been enjoying at Barcelona. This is something many have suggested Lionel Messi should have done, something Cristiano Ronaldo did by leaving Manchester United. Maybe stepping outside of the shadow of Messi will be the making of the player.
Time will tell.
The game as we know it is gone. Gone are the days of waiting in anticipation for the start of the Premier League and waiting up late on Saturday night to watch Match of the Day.
The kids, who last week went around in their Neymar Barcelona jersey’s will today be proudly showing off their new Neymar Paris St Germain jersey.
Clubs are like fidget spinners, a different craze each month for some youngsters. Gone are the days of supporting a team because your dad or uncle do. They will never experience the joy of years gone by and the excitement that football once had for young and old. The soul has been ripped out of the beautiful game and deals like the one we witnessed this week only damage it more.
Football is now a business, passion or love for a club no longer enters the heads of many players out there.
Alan Shearer turned down Manchester United for his beloved Newcastle United in 1996.
Sure, Newcastle were going better than they have been the last few years but teaming up with Sir Alex Ferguson and his dominate Manchester United in those days would have earned Shearer more money. On top of that, he certainly would have ended his career with more major honours.
However his love for his club outweighed everything else.
The days of a one man club too are gone with Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard just some of a dying breed. Players are now too important and expensive to stay at one club when they can be the “brand” of another.
Paul Pogba struggled during his return to Manchester United last season while his new emoji’s flashed around the advertising boards at Old Trafford as he unveiled a new haircut for the cameras each week.
Do you think Sir Alex Ferguson would have allowed such nonsense? Maybe Jose Mourinho no longer has any power to stop it.
The outrageous sacking of Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri last season further highlighted the depths the game has sunk too and if it ever can be recovered.
Back in 2010, the great Nobby Stiles of Manchester United wept as he revealed he was putting his 1966 World Cup winners medal up for sale to raise money for his family.
Neymar will probably earn more money while he sleeps this week than Stiles earned in his whole career. This is not Neymar’s he was lucky enough to be born in a different era.
History in football counts for very little now and the honour of playing for a Barcelona, Real Madrid of Manchester United no longer appeals if more money can be got elsewhere.
Agents have a lot to answer for too, with the reported fees Mino Raiola the agent of Paul Pogba claimed for the transfer of his client to Manchester United last summer would make your eyes water.
It will be interesting to see if the game can sustained this explosion of wealth or if it all will come crashing down.
Damien McEvoy Pundit Arena