Don’t Be a Selfish Soccer Player

If you’re selfish in soccer it can curse you. You won’t score a goal again. The post will deny you always. Every time you shoot your shot will strike the crossbar. Remember that time Pedro didn’t pass to Torres? After that non-pass by Pedro, Fernando Torres went on a goal scoring drought – sometimes not getting that chance to score a goal can deflate a player’s confidence.

Is there a time to be selfish in soccer? Well, if you can dribble through the entire team and score then by all means do it. But for player like Lionel Messi, would you call him selfish. No, if Messi dribbled through the whole soccer team and Suarez was wide open to score he’d pass him the ball.

Messi is always doing the right thing or what the game offers him. In chess they call it playing the board, or playing what is offered you. Not making the game of soccer more difficult. Take someone like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who you’d think might be selfish when he plays. But if you watch him closely, he’s always make the pass if someone is more open than him to score.

Sometimes even the best soccer players in the world are selfish. Do these famous soccer players regret it?

That time Ronaldo scored off a free kick but his teammate kicked it just to make sure. That time Salah didn’t pass to Mane. That time Neymar wanted to take the penalty kick. That time Ronaldo apologized to Bale for blocking his shot. That time Pogba tried to finish a shot but was offside. It’s not always about being selfish.

Many times they’re just trying to make sure the ball goes in. Really, it seems like the selfishness often centers around wanted to take a penalty kick or free kick when some else wants it. If a player is on a hattrick then he or she should be allowed to take the penalty. That’s just a rule.

Yet there’s a need in soccer for players to be assertive and maybe selfish at times. The right amount of selfishness, as John O’Brien writes about in his time at Ajax.

The story goes that when Cruyff received the ball with two men on him the youth coach would tell him to pass off to other players. Cruyff had his own ideas about the game so often he would take on and beat the first, then the second and maybe a third defender, with the coach yelling at him the entire time to pass the ball.

By itself that story is not winning any awards, but when told to young Dutch soccer players it conveys a deep message about the game: To be great you often have to not do as you’re told. If your adventurous play goes well it will be overlooked for the time being, but if it fails then coaches and fellow teammates alike can all join in your roast.

If you’re too selfish, or become known as a selfish soccer player, then your teammates will stop making those runs or trying to get open since they know you’re not going to pass them the ball. Selfishness can corrupt a team if there’s too much of it.

Two great soccer players – different styles. Ronaldo is certainly a lot more selfish than Messi. Here’s some evidence.