In an ecosystem where talent is scarce, professionalism is on the rise.
Today’s football is no longer an acrobatic, even circus-like spectacle, but an exercise in survival. The modern re-enactment of David versus Goliath. Football is no longer impossible but unpredictable.
Gone are the hammering games, the easy games. This is demonstrated by the cup eliminations of Bayern, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid against teams from lower divisions. Similarly, it is also evident in Manchester United’s defeat to bottom-placed Sheffield United last Wednesday. A third example can be seen in the struggles being encountered by a transatlantic as PSG in the limited Ligue 1.
The lower-ranked squads have managed to leave their admiration for their rivals outside the stadium, and have conspired to disarm such star-studded galaxies.
They will have time to ask them for an autograph or a T-shirt. However, for ninety minutes they are going to give their all so that in the future they can tell their grandchildren that they were able to beat the biggest teams on the planet. For many of these players, profession overrides passion. Football is a way for them to survive, which is very different from living.
Physical and tactical match preparation, an indispensable element in today’s ecosystem, has allowed them to compensate for the talent they lack. An innate attribute, which on the other hand, seems to be on the way to extinction.
Football owes them some joy and they are ready to take it when the opportunity presents itself.