How social media has influenced the world’s top footballers

When it comes to watching football, many fans often see the players on the pitch as bigger than the clubs. Despite the old adage that ‘nobody is bigger than the club’, the modern world does not seem to fit that narrative. How can you explain footballers who play for football clubs that they have more social media clout than?

It seems odd, but it happens on a fairly regular basis. Relatively big clubs who are not quite so social media savvy as players or other rival clubs often find this to their own cost. They notice a big drop-off in revenue compared to their competition. And the players? Well, they see a huge boost. It’s the only way to explain how the real-time soccer earnings of football players has gone so stratospherically high, according, Lionel Messi earns over $12’000 per hour.

When you are a brand in your own right, though, it’s easy to see how it affects the players. If you are someone who has millions of followers, people who hang on your every tweet, post, and mention, it’s easy to see how it has changed the face of the sport. Is it really such a good thing, though?

Should we celebrate the social media football age?

It’s a bit of a double-edged sword for a lot of people. For example, the way it has made players ‘bigger than the club’ in some cases has adjusted how players react. Ever since the Bosman ruling, football has seen players take more power than ever before. That’s fine. The problem is that, today, many players are happy to use that power to help fulfil their own personal ambitions.

Many players disregard the fans and clubs they play for, as they see the social media hordes telling them they are ‘too good’ for where they are. Before long, the club that they were once happy to play for, the league they enjoyed so much, is no longer good enough.

Agents, too, get a rise out of this. They see it easier to let their clients become a personal brand, leveraging that brand. They don’t see themselves so much as players who play for the clubs’ fans, but their own fans. The age has arrived where many football fans follow players, not clubs!

However, social media has impacted players in another, more positive way. For a while, the change in finance in football, and the lifestyle of players, meant most fans felt alienated from the players they would go to watch. Social media helps to fill that gap.

Now, away from the soundbites and the PR moves said after the match, players could speak their minds once again. If a player has been poorly treated, they can say so. they can speak up for causes they care about. And they can make sure that the narrative of their lifestyle, professionalism or anything else is not dictated by third party sources.

So, social media has both given players freedom and made them slaves to the industry of self-branding. In many ways, it’s hard to say what is the more significant issue.

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