MADRID (Reuters) – A number of current and past players from across Europe have made plans for a European Super League, with Paris St-Germain midfielder Ander Herrera among the most vocal.
Soccer – FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid scarves on display in a shop in Las Ramblas as twelve of Europe’s top soccer clubs open a breakaway Super League – Barcelona, Spain – April 19, 2021 REUTERS / Nacho Doce
On Sunday, 12 founding clubs announced that they intended to create and run their own European competition, much to the disbelief of fans and leagues across the continent.
On Monday, several players turned down the idea and Herrera – whose French club is not among the 12 founding members – said the project would destroy the dreams of fans around the world.
“I fell in love with popular football, with the football of the fans, with the dream of seeing the team of my heart compete against the greatest,” tweeted the ex-Manchester United player.
“If this European Super League progresses, those dreams will be over and the illusions of the fans of the non-giants teams of winning on the field by competing in the best competitions.
“I love football and I can’t keep silent about it. I believe in an improved Champions League, but not in the rich who steal what people have made. This is nothing more than the most beautiful sport in the world. “
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes added a post to his Instagram account by Portuguese teammate and Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Daniel Podence, who criticized the idea and added the comment “Dreams cannot be bought (sic)”.
Ex-Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan midfielder Luis Figo, whose former clubs all signed up for the Super League, were equally devastating.
“This so-called ‘Superleague’ is anything but ‘Super’,” said the Portuguese.
“This greedy and persistent move would mean a catastrophe for our grassroots, women’s football and the wider football community, just to serve self-interested owners who long ago stopped caring for their fans and completely disregard sporting merits. Tragic, ”he wrote on Twitter.
Zenit St. Petersburg’s former Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren and Fenerbahce’s ex-Arsenal and Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil also criticized the idea.
“Football will be on the verge of total collapse in the near future. Nobody thinks about the bigger picture, just the financial side, ”wrote the Croatian defender on Twitter.
“I still believe we can resolve this uncomfortable situation.”
The Super League clubs also announced their intention to host a parallel women’s competition, but Olympique Lyonnais’ five-time Champions League winner Ada Hegerberg slammed the plans as greedily.
“I grew up loving the Champions League and then played in the Women’s Champions League,” she said.
“Then I won five of them and became the all-time leading goalscorer. It’s legacy. It’s past, present and future, as is meritocracy in sport. Greed is not the future. “
Reporting by Joseph Walker; Adaptation by Ken Ferris