Many ex-football players find great difficulty in watching a match without an occasional headshake or another sign of frustration. According to them, the game has changed a great deal, and mostly not in a positive manner.
Football fans question the professionalism of current players and managers, and it is difficult to prove them wrong when hearing about a player’s night out, an ultimatum imposed on a club for financial reasons, or even seeing the spectacular amount of exaggeration that takes place on the field in order to get a free-kick.
The mentality of footballers and managers in general has indeed changed quite a bit. 50 years ago, the players would never dream of making the tremendous amounts of money that current professionals earn today. This shift in wages is probably the main cause for the larger presence of egotistical behaviours.
Proper nutrition has become more important over the years for athletic performance. This has caused current players to have a more balanced diet than footballers would have in the 1980s. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is a man who tries to pass on these important principles on to his team. 'Le Professeur' goes as far as teaching classes on nutrition.
Just 20 years ago, football was in no way a mockery. Yet today, football is known to many in the world as a sport with fake injuries and incessant diving in order to receive an undeserved foul. Again, it is difficult to argue with these statements when the laws of gravity just do not seem to apply to certain world class professionals.
The main issue in football today, is the lack of respect and fair-play of footballers, but also fans. Sportsmanship is a principle that should be taught to children at the youngest age in order to reintroduce the passion that no longer seems to be present in many eyes. The experience of going to the stadium to watch a match is tarnished when hearing a man openly cursing aloud at the players while his pre-teen son shouts at the referee. We can only be thankful that there are still people who believe in the beauty of football.
Miroslav Klose has won two FIFA Fair-Play awards in his career, the first of which was for telling the referee that Bielefeld 'keeper had not fouled him. The referee had therefore denied a penalty and revoked the yellow card that was given to the goalie. Klose won the award for a second time in a game with against Napoli. Klose had admitted to scoring with his hand when the referee had not seen it. The goal was ruled out and Lazio went on to lose the match 3-0.
Unfortunately, there are no longer many players like Klose out there who are willing to keep the integrity of football. There is not much chance of seeing any improvement over the next 10 years either, and the future of football looks rather bleak.
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