As the era of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi gradually winds down, there has been a search for the heirs to their thrones. The two legends took the game to another level making the two Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona the toast of the football world.
They were special talents that single-handedly carried their teams on their backs. They made El Clasico a must-watch, a match that became more than just a football game. It was watched far and near by even those who do not actively follow the sport.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid was always special. Special not just because of the club’s being big brands in the round leather game, but because it was about Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo.
Those days are now well and truly behind us.
How time flies....
Who could have thought that Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe would be in the same team and Mbappe will be earning more praise than el maestro? The Argentine wizard is now a support cast member at Paris Saint-Germain.
Coincidentally the two legends left for different cities and it is if they went there to anoint they are successors. Messi in Paris and Ronaldo in Manchester.
Kylian Mbappe is the newly crowned king at PSG, while Erling Haaland is the new poster boy at Manchester. The stage is set for a new football world order. It seems the next decade will witness a shift in power from Spain to France and England.
It’s not surprising then that La Liga president, Javier Tebas, has been at the forefront of the fight to stop this from happening. He has identified these two teams as those ruining the game by spending heavily on top talents.
Their rise threatens the hegemony of the old order. In his calculation, the bigger these new powerhouses grow, the less influential La Liga and Spanish football as a whole will be.
Changing the order of things will mean destroying the game in his view. And so he is fighting tooth and nail to stop these new money bags from taking over the reins.
Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, he has not been able to stop the seeming power shift. If these two players continue their exploits as has been in the last few years or even raise their game, Man City and PSG will become dominant forces in the European game in the next several years.
Tebas may be forced to watch the two clubs battle it out for the Champions League trophy season in season out.
It could get to the extent that the same way Barcelona and Real Madrid captured the attention of the world and held it for decades, suddenly there will be new powerhouses ruling world football.
As far as Tebas is concerned, the two clubs would have finally succeeded in destroying the game, notwithstanding that they are simply following in the footsteps of the Spanish giants he oversees.