Mbappé, Ronaldo and the South Beach moment

The fact that the moves can pass anyway, however, suggests that football has entered a new era, one in which the system is secondary to t...

The fact that the moves can pass anyway, however, suggests that football has entered a new era, one in which the system is secondary to the power of the stars. For a decade, the game has been defined by its most prominent coaches – Guardiola, Pochettino, Jürgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and the others – who all believe, deep down, that the idea comes before the individual.

For a handful of teams, this has been reversed. Pochettino’s task at PSG is no longer to outsmart his peers to lift the Champions League trophy, to have a better idea than Guardiola; it’s about providing a platform on which Messi and Neymar can express their abilities, lift fans from their seats, captivate an audience.

That this is just a handful – PSG, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and perhaps, somewhat unexpectedly, Real Madrid too – should not be ignored. It’s not trivial that this week’s swirling chaos came after a summer in which most teams, even in the big European leagues, tried to cut costs, rather than go for new ones.

It is not only in the field that a new era has been born. The financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and its associated shutdown, sent football headlong into a path it was taking anyway. As has been noted before, the financial advantage enjoyed by a handful of teams could ultimately make the proposed and aborted Super League look like an exercise in open competition.

And that is perhaps part of the most revealing conclusion that can be drawn from this summer and this week. The deals that took place, of course – will be remembered – for Messi standing on the pitch in Paris, as if he had just realized how far his adoration had extended; for the prospect of Mbappé in white in Madrid and Ronaldo in sky blue in the city – but the deals that were not were just as important.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Mbappé, Ronaldo and the South Beach moment
Mbappé, Ronaldo and the South Beach moment
Newsrust - US Top News
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