Figo, Barca and Gerrard

Posted by Rushian on July 6, 2004, 08:49:12 PM

I think many have missed what could turn out to be a defining moment in European football - when that Barca flag was thrown at Figo towards the end of the European Championship Final on Sunday. Many will dismiss it as the actions of a lunatic. However, nobody can ignore the power of that moment and the humiliation heaped on Figo in front of all of his country men at one of the most critical points in his career.

In that moment, every prima donna superstar footballer was shown that football has a soul that belongs to the fans (not to players, agents, managers, chairmen or owners). Figo's greed was exposed at a point in time when he was most vulnerable by a fan who had felt betrayed and who felt the game of football had been betrayed.

It was beautiful, poetic and savage.

It showed the hypocrisy of Figo's attempt to portray himself as a footballer of honour willing to die for his country. And most of all, it showed most clearly why the Greeks deserved to win and why it is better for football that the Greeks won.

The true values of football won out at Euro 2004. The so-called big name players such as Van Nistelrooy, Beckham, Raul, and Gerrard (I'm afraid), were shown to be soulless media-hyped players who no longer understood the true spirit of football. Values of hard work, self sacrifice, battle and, most importantly, teamwork.

In Gerrard's case, he claimed he lost his concentration because of the 'confusion' over the proposed move to Chelsea. This shows the extent to which he was unable to see the need for the team to take precedence over the individual. He should not even have been thinking about such matters. Luckily, he pulled back from the brink of what would have been a soulless move to Chelsea. But the damage to England was done, much as his moodiness two seasons ago damaged Liverpools season.

Hopefully Gerrard witnessed the Barca fan and the moment of Figos exposure and hopefully, it will make him think about what is truly important in the game. Maybe he will understand his role in making Liverpool a great team for the fans rather than demanding that it becomes a great team for him.

We will ultimately find out if his decision to stay with LFC was about Steven Gerrard becoming one of the greats or whether he too becomes another overpaid and over hyped star who achieves little as a player.

© Soleil Rouge Grande 2004

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