Take a deep look at the cash-hardened world of football and you’ll notice the greatest thing about being a footballer is not fame or fortune, but you can actually get away by behaving like a jerk.
There are certain rules in workplaces that regulate how workers should behave, but footballers are exempted from such rules: they are free to do whatever they want. Or in Robin van Persie’s case, what “the little boy inside” him tells him what to do.
“I don’t like it here, I want to move elsewhere. You don’t allow me to go? Fine, I’ll start acting like a 9-year-old.” That could be “the little boy inside” van Persie’s reaction upon deciding to move from his former club Arsenal to join the Red Devils team.
Former Tottenham Hotspurs’ Luka Modric had wanted to move to a greener pasture from White Hart Lane, but his demand wasn’t instantly met by his club. Real Madrid were tiptoeing around him and the Croatian midfielder responded to Tottenham’s reluctance by refusing to go to the team’s pre-season matches in the United States. He was under a certain contract that made him obliged to nod to what his employer want, but Modric insisted and said no. Just like that. Needless to say, Modric finally got his dream move to the Spain’s capital and his disobedience was nothing more but a lubricant.
Yet the most talked-about transfer of the season is surely van Persie’s decision to wear the much-hated Manchester United’s gingham shirt. One shouldn’t contest another’s fashion taste, but how the Dutchman engineered his move to Old Trafford enraged Arsenal fans, especially since he declared he no longer shares the same drive and interest with his old club.
It’s a shame he didn’t mention anything about the shirt. Maybe if he did, Arsenal fans would have been more forgiving. Similar to Modric, van Persie refused to get on the plane when Arsenal went on the pre-season tour. But the bottom-line is he got what he wanted.
It’s a mad world these footballers are living in because there’s no way their antics will be tolerated in any normal work environment. Imagine if you’re an office worker who refuses to follow orders from your superior because you no longer have the passion to work there and demand to be transferred out immediately, but at the same time are still getting your salary.
It’s impossible to talk about footballers’ mutiny against their own clubs without mentioning Carlos Tevez: the ultimate “I’ll-do-what-I-want footballer.” You may name any eccentric footballer with outrageous attitude, but nobody would be able to beat Tevez’s ridiculous behavior when he refused to warm up during a Manchester City game in Munich last season, simply because he didn’t like it.
Normally, a mutinous employee would be sued for breaching the contract, but what is more ridiculous than Tevez’s attitude is he was forgiven after manager Roberto Mancini was short of a striker last season. Not to mention that his wage was increased after City won the league title because his previous contract clause stipulated so.
This trend of rebelling against your club to demand a transfer has been religiously followed by any want-away footballers, although not everyone gets on his way smoothly. Following his season-break trip to his native America, Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey announced he’s leaving Craven Cottage for a bigger club: Liverpool. Having burned the bridge between him and the fans and the club, Dempsey flew back from his holiday to London just to find that the transfer is yet to be completed. Fearing that the transfer will fall through, guess what Dempsey did? Yes, you’re right.
Disobey what your club tells you to do is the fastest way to the exit door for a football player, although Joey Barton might disagree and argue that you could actually get your way out by picking a fight with your opponent.