South America has given birth to some of the greatest footballers in history: Pele, Maradona, Messi etc. However, many of today’s stars are refusing to leave their respective homelands and continue to snub the so-called ‘elite’ leagues of Europe. Ganso and Neymar are two stars that have the world at their feet and although they have been subject to much interest from the biggest European clubs, they refuse to leave Brazil. Ganso, in particular, chose a move to Sao Paolo and in doing so rejected many of Europe’s top clubs. One wonders if this supposed loyalty to their birth nation is the sole reason for their decision to snub Europe.
I for one believe that football, as a business, is flourishing in South America as a result of the economic stability that is present in the continent. Money attracts stars, stars generate interest, and interest generates more money. Football was once seen as a universal language. Sadly, it appears that money has now become the vernacular of modern-day ”footy’. Times are changing, and renewed interest in South America has led to a huge improvement in the standard of domestic football. The Champions League may be seen as the epitome of footballing success at club level, but believe me the Copa Libertadores is gaining momentum with every football that is kicked in the favela’s of Brazil. If more and more stars continue to stay in their respective countries, then it is only a matter of time before South America can dominate football domestically and internationally.
For those who are yet to experience the true beauty of the Copa Libertadores, I suggest you watch this video of this year’s Top 10 ‘golazos’. Keep an eye out for cameos from Neymar, Ganso, and even Ronaldinho.
SPORT IS EVERYTHING. Richard Barrett.