The announcement of the European Super League confirmed what football fans had known for some time, that the sport had become nothing more than a business.
However, has the beautiful game lost all of its romanticism? We discuss that here
Panenka magazine and Disney football
For Aitor Lagunas, the editor of Panenka magazine, the Super League represented football’s final nail in the coffin.
“Football has been moving towards being an industry, of the superelite, with businesses and multi-national corporations,” he said.
“It is not sport, it is entertainment.”
However, he believes that the romanticism still remains for the clubs who have majority fan ownership.
“In Germany, there is a balance between romanticism and the more capitalist dimensions,” he said.
“The fan is not only a client, but also a voice that must be heard.
“Athletic Club conserve some romantic elements, they compete with a philosophy from the 19th century.
Jose Juan, the hero of Alcoyano
This season’s Copa del Rey has produced one of the most unexpected examples of romanticism in recent football memory.
In January, Segunda B side Alcoyano defeated Real Madrid 2-1, thanks to a stunning performance by their 41-year-old goalkeeper Jose Juan.
“It was an epic match, in the cold and the mud, yet there were no fans,” he said.
“The whole world remembers it.”
He believes that there is little space left in football for romanticism.
“Football belongs to the people, to the town,” he said.
“In football there is little romanticism left, it seems that it remains for the most nostalgic fans, but in the end what is being lost is the essence of football.
La Media Inglesa with the view from England
This view is shared in England, where football clubs and communities are inextricably linked.
Nacho Gonzalez is a journalist at La Media Inglesa, a publication focusing on English football.
“In English football, if you snatch football away then you remove something very important to the community,” he said.
“It is not only a show and a business, you remove everything.”
Cesar Valades is the head of commercial management and marketing at Coolligan, the football retro store in Madrid, and believes that football is at risk of losing its core values.
“A club should be close to its fans and not lose the values that sustain the sport,” he said.
“Our Super League is football in the street, we look for the essence, the passion, the grandfather going with his son to watch the match.”
As professional football continues shifting towards being a business, it is losing sight of the fundamental values that made it the most popular sport worldwide.
However, that is not to say that romanticism in football is completely dead.
When these moments arise against the increasingly corporate landscape, such as Jose Juan‘s performance against Real Madrid, they shine more brilliantly than ever.