PDC: Rich footballers will never be role models like Olympic heroes (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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PDC: Rich footballers will never be role models like Olympic heroes
MODERN-DAY footballers will never possess the same levels of humility and the purity of personal values exhibited by the athletes of London 2012, says Paolo Di Canio. The reason? Money.
Global stars of the track, field and pool delighted crowds in the capital recently with both their outstanding displays of athletic excellence and their sheer amiability - with the likes of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Sir Chris Hoy endearing themselves to the British public over the course of 16 days of competition.
Post-Games the question has been posed in several circles: Why do top-flight footballers not present themselves as role models in the same way as our Olympians?
For Di Canio the problem lies squarely at the feet of the vast sums of money pummelled into football by television companies, middle-Eastern royal families and Russian oligarchs, which corrupt the minds of youngsters just entering the game.
“Not only in the Premier League, even in League One there are people who earn much more money than them (the Olympians),” he said.
“But in terms of what we can change or how the players should behave, thinking of the athletes who work so hard for two years to put their faces out in a high level competition in front of thousands of people with all the world watching them, we can’t change that.
“I say that, and I’m very sad when I say this, because football can’t be at this level very genuine and pure in terms of value. It can’t be.
“People like Balotelli, even if they were more educated in terms of discipline and rules of the group, at 17 they jump up to the first team and play their first game and their second and have desire, passion and they completely give their availability because they’re still close to fixing themselves art this level.
“But after their first contract, £600,000 per year for six years or five years - bye, bye.
“One in every hundred can keep it for one year or two years but no longer than this is a big disappointment.
“Where there is money, fame, glory - even if you didn’t do anything yet - you go around the town like you are the king.
“You are young, you’re not stronger inside, your mental structure is not strong.
“When you buy the first Range Rover, you are a midget in a big car driving so only your head you can see. You’re thinking in this way not because you want to push harder and reach high.”
Di Canio feels that trying to change the mindset of young footballers already infected by the wealth of the modern game is a losing battle.
“The athletes are a perfect example of professionalism, athleticism, how to remain genuine, how to remain pure with their values, expectations of what you’re doing.
“It’s about interior motivation not outside motivation, which is bonuses, goals, appearances. All these aspects don’t help the footballers remain genuine like when they were young.
“It’s a losing battle, we maybe can see one who can be an example. In one thousand, one can remain the same but for two maybe three years.”