Players hit out at breakaway European Super League
MADRID – A number of high-profile players from across Europe, including two from the 12 founder clubs of the planned European Super League – Bruno Fernandes and Joao Cancelo – have joined in criticism of the plans.
The Portuguese duo, alongside Paris St-Germain midfielder Ander Herrera and other players including Mesut Ozil, Dejan Lovren and Ada Hegerberg have reiterated criticism of the proposals.
Late on Sunday the 12 teams announced that they intended to create and govern their own European competition, much to the incredulity of fans and leagues across the continent.
Both Manchester United's Fernandes and Manchester City's Cancelo added a post from Portugal teammate and Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Daniel Podence, who criticised the idea, to their Instagram accounts.
Fernandes added the comment "dreams can't be buy (sic)" with applause and heart emojis, while Cancelo accompanied the post with an applause emoji.
Herrera, whose French club are not among the 12 founding members, said the project would kill the dreams of fans across the globe.
"If this European Super League advances, those dreams are over, the illusions of the fans of the teams that are not giants of being able to win on the field competing in the best competitions will end," the ex-Manchester United player tweeted.
"I believe in an improved Champions League, but not in the rich stealing what the people created, which is nothing other than the most beautiful sport on the planet."
Ex-Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan midfielder Luis Figo - whose former clubs have all signed up to the Super League - was equally scathing.
"This so called 'Superleague' is anything but 'Super'," the Portuguese said.
"This greedy and callous move would spell disaster for our grassroots, for women’s football, and the wider football community only to serve self-interested owners, who stopped caring about their fans long ago, and complete disregard for sporting merit. Tragic," he wrote on Twitter.
The day football stopped being football and became soccer. pic.twitter.com/Fa16rYkPTb— Dejan Lovren (@Dejan06Lovren) April 19, 2021
Zenit St Petersburg's former Liverpool defender Lovren and Fenerbahce's ex-Arsenal and Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil also criticised the idea.
"Football will be in the near future on a brink of complete collapse. Nobody is thinking about the bigger picture, only the financial side," the Croatia defender wrote on twitter.
"I still believe we can solve this unpleasant situation."
Greed is not the future
The Super League clubs also announced their intention to create a parallel women's competition, but Olympique Lyonnais's five-time Champions League winner Ada Hegerberg slammed the plans as greedy.
"I grew up loving the Champions League, then I got to play in the Women's Champions League," she said.
"Then I got to win five of them and become the all-time leading goalscorer. It's legacy. It's the past, present, and future, so is meritocracy in sports. Greed is not the future."