Football Musings

Adrian de León
5 min readMar 14, 2021

It would be hard to argue against those who claim that professional football resides in a fantasy world. One in which its importance seems highly exaggerated, and in which the salaries, revenues and associate costs (tickets, shirts, memorabilia) defy the economic reality in which the majority of the world lives in.

Every fantasy world harbours protagonists and antagonists, and the beauty (or ugliness) of football is that these roles can be assigned to different people by differing audiences. However, you might say that the referee is very often the antagonist in the eyes of most fans.

Evidently, the biggest heroes and villains of our footballistic tales are personified by the footballers who grace the pitch. It would also be hard to argue against the fact that no players embody the mythical tropes of rivalry, heroic antics, and reigns of supremacy more than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Two players who have dominated the headlines and shattered the record books throughout the last 15 years or so. It is worth highlighting some of their combined achievements over the years:

- 9 Champions League wins — 10 Champions League semi-finals

- 11 Ballon d’Or

- 253 Champions League goals

- 1,438 goals (!)

They have raised the ceiling of normality and with that have raised our expectation of how a world-class football player should perform. When I first started watching football, if a striker (not a winger)…