The Weary Professional Footballer

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No professional footballer should ever complain. They make more money in a week than most folks make in a year. They make more money than Washington, D.C. teachers, Chilean miners and most doctors.

But from some quarters of the professional soccer world you hear their threats of retirement, their inability to endure the long season, with all the travel, their want of a transfer to another club after a bust up with a manager, and their agony, anguish, and suffering due to an unceasing press, a camera or microphone constantly stuck in their face.

There is some truth to the grueling season, especially in the English Premier league, and for those footballers/soccer players who play for both club and country they do play a lot of games. Those long flights take a toll. Along with injuries and just the overall pressure. In most countries soccer is of course more than a religion.

It’s true though, they should have a bug zapper for the relentless paparazzi that hovers around, but this constant press coverage is balanced out by the adulation of the their home fans. And the players create their own troubles many times, see Ribery and Rooney. And, those first class seats, those posh hotels, those prostitutes (for some) and those large paychecks should be plenty of salve to help heal those wounds. Again, when the fans are chanting your name, and your representing your country as the national anthem plays, I’m sure it’s all worth it.

It’s usually these main issues though, which are often twisted or turned to favor the player who really wants more money or switch to a new club: playing time, too many games, doesn’t like the coach or not playing as much as they’d like – meaning not getting enough attention.

Let’s take a look at some weary professionals:

David Beckham
Jet setted across the globe in his quest to play for England in the World Cup. The constant travel and playing with ankle injuries finally got the better of him as he tore his Achilles. All the travel and the rush to make England’s World Cup squad probably had something to do with the Achiles injury.

Beckham enjoyed precious little time off over a two-year period, flying back and forth between Los Angeles and Europe as he attempted to keep his place in the England team.

Gruelling schedule: David Beckham believes he pushed himself too hard in a bid to make. However, the 34-year-old believes he has paid the ultimate price for his dedication.

‘I needed to do it,’ Beckham said on a US chat show. ‘In the last two years I’ve been pushing myself too hard because I wanted to get into Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad.

‘I’d been flying from LA back to Europe a lot and I think it gave up. I think I’d been running too much in the game [against Cheivo when he suffered the injury] and I was tired. There was a minute left and it just went.’

Landon Donovan
Loan spell at Everton couldn’t have been more successful, and conquered the ghost of European football, but he’s been playing constantly since then, in World Cup qualifiers, the World Cup and then returns to the LA Galaxy. He’s worn out.

“I tell this to people all the time, to players: you don’t realize how much a World Cup takes out of you. You see even players coming back to their seasons in Europe who have had a month off that are struggling,” Donovan said.

“It takes a lot out of you. Mentally and emotionally it’s tough to go through that, especially the way our World Cup went, and then come back and have that same passion and fire. That’s challenging.

Carlos Tevez

The violins are starting to play. Tevez is unhappy and says he’s going to retire in three years. I just find this hard to believe. I don’t think Tevez is going to pass up all the money he could make and leave football.

Tevez is a player you can only love. He’s tireless, clever and scores big goals. He is a legend at West Ham after saving them from regulation. He then want on to Manchester United and immediately partnered with Wayne Rooney upfront to help them win the English Premier League title and the Champions League.

However, these recent comments make you question your admiration for his play on the pitch. I’m guessing these comments were taken somewhat out of context to maybe create a story, but there’s still a lot here. Maybe Ferguson was right to let Tevez leave Manchester United. Maybe Tevez is all about Tevez.

And Tevez comes from the streets, someone who grew up without money. He bares a gruesome burn scar on his neck and refuses to get it cosmetically fixed. You couldn’t create a character more setup to be beloved if you were to make a movie about his life. He chases down defenders and wins the ball. He’s small in stature but can’t be knocked off the ball. Do we need to be more sympathetic of the professional? All the first class travel.

All the games. All the adulation? To me, this might just a phase that Tevez is in and common with professional athletes who live in a bubble. Yet, it seems to be a pattern with Carlito. He wants his way all the time. Perhaps he’s really just a big baby, and needs to put that pacifier back in and stop his whining.

Wayne Rooney

Too many prostitutes. To many games. No sure which but Rooney’s tired.

‘A winter break would not only help the England team but the Premier League as well.

‘Towards the end of the season the intensity in some of the games which is normally there is missing. It’s a long season with the intensity the games are played at. It is only fair on players that there is a break.’

Rooney believes a break is especially important in England because of the pace of the game.

‘It’s great, especially as a forward when the game is end to end and the game opens up. But it’s only in England where you see the game that quick,’ he added.

Arjen Robben

Bayern outraged that star winger Arjen Robben returned from the World Cup with a hamstring injury which has prevented him from playing so far this season.

Zlatan Ibramivoic
How can AC Milan let him go and play for Sweden? Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed his prolific start to life at AC Milan has been achieved despite suffering from a groin problem that has prevented him from training.

There are those who went from the bottom back to the top:

He nearly or did go off the deep end. He went from being the next Ronaldo to being shipped off to Brazil.

Dimitar Berbatov
Claims that he trained after watching the World Cup games. He was inspired and rejuvenated.

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