The Price of Football

Yesterday saw Atalanta get knocked out of the Champions League quarterfinal in less than three minutes of stoppage time. Having led for most of the match, the expensive Paris Saint Germain players finally broke down the little team from Bergamo. Whether you root for the underdog, or just want to see beautiful football, I think most people aside from PSG fans were shocked by the last minute change of fortunes. But when your team costs an actual fortune, that is what sometimes happens. That is the price of football.

Courage, hard work, and heart are still no match for fortune

The PSG team boasts a lot of big name players, who of course make very bloated salaries. The annual salary of PSG is €175 million. They were awarded the title in Ligue 1 this year, being 13 points ahead of the second place team when the league shut down due to COVID-19.

Speaking of COVID-19, Atalanta play in the heart of Bergamo, the region of Italy that was hardest hit by the pandemic. They finished third in Serie A, but their dream to win in their very first Champions League appearance this season was forged in sorrow and the loss of so many in their region. Certainly, it wasn’t in their annual salaries, which total only €36 million.

They are almost literally rolling in the dough

To put that into perspective, Neymar’s annual salary alone is €36.7 million. He literally makes more than the entire Atalanta squad.

"Oh no, now they know how overpaid I am"

This disparity is very apparent on the books, but not always so apparent on the pitch. That a team like Atalanta even made it to the quarterfinals, let alone matched PSG for 90 minutes and even led most of the game shows the true beauty of football. It is not supposed to be about money, it is supposed to be about hard work, talent, sacrifice and heart. You cannot put a price on heart.

Unfortunately, in a world where there is still nothing fair about financial fair play and the rules do not apply to everyone, fortune still favors the rich. We saw that in Serie A, that even if by only one point, Juventus won another title with a team that is paid more than double any other team, and seriously underperformed this year.

A gorgeous goal from a former Milan loanee should have been enough

This time, the price of football hurt that much more because of Atalanta’s amazing project and the crushing sorrow surrounding their team this year due to COVID-19. All eyes were on this brilliant team and their fantastic football, and hearts soared for 90 minutes. Until a couple of goals from the wealthy team sunk the miraculous and seriously underpaid team. It was heart wrenching to watch, and PSG’s celebrations were nothing close to sporting, considering the situation and the sporting efforts of Atalanta. But unfortunately, all too often, that is the price of football.

This post inspired by the music of NIN’s “Head Like a Hole”

The Price of Football The Price of Football Reviewed by Elaine on 12:35 AM Rating: 5
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