Football’s current state
The sport we love is changing and will probably never be the same again. This is as undeniable as it gets, when you take on a deeper look at the current state of football with all of it’s reorganization after the Bosman rulling changed everything in order to create a sport plagued of marketing, corruption, large amounts of money, match fixing and referee affairs. After an analysis of the actual situation, I reached a few conclusions:
Less competitivity in the Champions League
Most of the once top teams (Manchester United, Liverpool, Inter, Milan) have fallen from grace as new rich teams like Manchester City and PSG make their way in. And there are teams like Arsenal or Juventus, that are either satisfied with their European progress and can’t aim for more (the Gunners) or don’t have the force to actually win the competition (the Bianconeri). Or teams like Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund who can try to win it, but are not top teams and they often fail. This makes the UEFA Champions League less competitive as a whole and it’s easier for teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid (and Bayern Munich to a lesser extent) to lift the trophy. At this point, we can consider a surprise if none of this three teams win the competition this year. Although maybe this season could really prove itself unpredictable, with Real significantly weakened after Cristiano’s departure, Barcelona facing a never-ending crisis, Bayern with Niko Kovac being as much a joke as it can get, the uncertainty is certainly there. And let’s not forget the introduction of VAR in Champions League should help in this regard. Although I can’t say for sure teams like PSG, Manchester City or Atletico Madrid can move to win their first UCL with all their inabilities.
Less competitive leagues
I’m talking about this big leagues, the ones that have that greatness that makes them so popular (except La Liga, which is historically a dictatorship of either Barcelona or Madrid). Since Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United’s declines along with Tottenham Hotspur’s incapacity, Premier League has become a battle between Chelsea and Manchester City. With Inter and Milan down, Serie A it’s easy for Juventus to dominate, despite Roma and Napoli trying to put up a fight. I mean, Napoli actually came close to even winning the goddamn thing by their win over Juventus last season, which cut the gap between the two sides to a mere one point… before losing 0-3 against Fiorentina and seeing their Scudetto chances turn to ash. Bundesliga can also count in; it had teams like Werder Bremen, Stuttgart, Wolfsburg and Borrusia Dortmund winning it, but I don’t see how Bayern Munich can be stopped in the future. To further prove my point, Borussia has lost two important points in their game with Hoffenheim after leading 3-0 in the 74th minute, to drawing 3-3, and Bayern has taken advantage of this to win their game with Schalke and reduce the gap to 5 points.
Golden Ball awarding
With Luka Modric as the winner in 2018, the Croatian became the first player since Kaka in 2007 which is not Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win the Ballon D’Or. The fact that prior to Modric’s win, the Ballon D’Or has become a dispute between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo because they are the world’s best players at the moment and are top trending when it comes to marketing only serves to show that even these two can’t win unless they play for one of the Classico teams. As such, both of them won the trophy even when they didn’t merely deserve it; take 2010, 2014 and 2016 as examples. And now that Ronaldo has left Real Madrid for Juventus, we see Modric as the new Golden Ball winner. Regardless of whether it’s France Football or FIFA awarding the Golden Ball, the ending result will always be the same.
European teams have become more addicted to players from South America and Africa. This players lack charisma and ambition; their goal is to make as much money as they can, not win trophies and have legendary careers. So, after some years playing at a top level, they would get bored and seek some money in championships like China. And since China has become more interested in football, just take a look how many talented players have since got there. Sure, Paulinho made history with a transfer from Guangzhou Evergrande to Barcelona last season, even as he was a former Tottenham flop, and had a really good season with the Blaugrana team, but only ended up returning to China. Not many players have achieved the feat of returning to European football after a transfer to China.
New teams in the background
Take a look at those small or smaller leagues and see how teams you never knew of until now are playing in the Europa League group stages/knock-out phases or even Champions League group stages. Examples: Ludogorets Razgrad, Astana, Hapoel Beer Sheva, Rostov, Krasnodar, Zorya Luhansk, etc. Not only they are new in European football at this stage, they are not even teams of great tradition in their respective countries, each of them having a history of being either recently founded, or facing off against relegation in the first division or with years in the lower tiers. Such teams have managed to rise to a level where they can get attention at an international stage by large amounts of money thrown into building their respective records like a new employee builds his CV.