The familiar refrain of David Guetta’s theme tune dies out and all we have now are the memories. It was alright while it lasted. Maybe even better than alright. After months of fear mongering about potential terror threats, people from all over Europe turned up and had some fun. The football itself was average, though many were quick to insist it was worse than that.
There were some surprises, though in the end the lopsided draw perhaps decided the fate of the usual superpowers more so than their own performances. In turn said superpowers bemoaned the bloating out of the competition, forgetting that despite its faults international football remains, arguably the most level playing field we have in the professional game.
Even so soon after the event, it is easy to start speculating on the future of the game. Ronaldo, despite the loathing, has an unparalleled record( as a European) in the modern game as a goalscorer.
With Cristiano now 31, the summer of his own career has drawn to a close and adaptation and game management will have to come to the fore. After him, you have maybe his club mate Bale, as a potential superstar. But after that?
One notable point from this year’s tournament was the lack of breakout players. Not even to mention those who might not have captured the imagination. Of course, this matters little in the marketing scheme of things. Pogba et al will be shot to the moon by the football machine regardless.
But even the most optimistic football fan couldn’t say this is a vintage time. In the twenty-five odd years since its inception, the Champions League has evolved into an elite competition with the same sides fighting it out each year. It hasn’t gone unnoticed these same sides figure highly on the Forbes list each year. And while it is great to marvel at Messi’s magic or another Zlatan contortion you can’t help but wonder who is next up on the throne.
Is the era of the superstar coming to a close? Will the team mentality begin to take over? And if so, how will they manage to film all 11 players in close up simultaneously?
Many would argue that international football could be seen as a breath of fresh air, with players from Crystal Palace to Fleetwood Town featuring highly. But Nike and Adidas will find it difficult to manage fresh air. That’s why Ronaldo probably got more close-ups in the final(even when off the pitch) than at least 18 of the other players.
If you want to see where it’s all headed, perhaps looking west will provide the answers. The NFL and NBA have stealthily managed to fit more commercials and other non-sport related nonsense into their live broadcasts for the past 40 years, all the while hoping that the general public would keep the money coming in. All the while grateful for the likes of Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning to keep their MVP status up. But Bryant and Manning are not Michael Jordan nor Joe Montana. And Europe is no longer the market for American sports that it once was.
It is not hard to imagine association football decreasing in aesthetic pleasure as the players become more athletic and risk averse. And with those professionals quite rightly being aware of their earning potential in these days of plenty it must be wondered when the bubble will burst. But don’t wait for Sky Sports to tell you about a football depression. Things have never been better..or bigger.