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So, Michel Platini, token UEFA president, is back in the news bashing Arsene Wenger and this time you have to wonder just what he has personally against the greatest French manager of all-time. Let’s take a look at what he said:
“Me, I only want to talk about football. [Wenger] only wants to talk about business. We must shut up with Wenger and all that. He is an extremely selfish person.
The fact that Cluj beat Roma is very interesting, don’t you think? This is the beauty of football, where the small beats the big, something Wenger doesn’t like.” – Michel Platini in Dauphine Libere.
What the fuck is his problem? Even as the reporter tried to steer the conversation away from Wenger and to goal-line video technology, Platini still could not let his hatred of Wenger go saying, “I would not mind if the technology is introduced, as long as Arsene Wenger isn’t around to see it.” How petty can you be? Let’s see, who does the game need to be rid of more… a fiscally responsible manager generally acknowledged to be one of the best in the world or an unqualified, petulant, and spiteful ex-player with way too much power for a man who talks to the press like he’s nine years old?
First of all, what manager of a big club likes to see his team get beat? What manager of any club likes to see his team get beat? Wenger is selfish apparently for not paying players 200k pounds per week and for trying to guard his club against financial ruin when this football bubble eventually bursts, which, make no mistake about it, it will. Either it will burst completely or the balance of power will shift back to either Spain or Italy.
Wenger responded to Platini’s childish taunting in L’Equipe:
“I am stunned by the aggressive content of Platini’s words. I am effectively a supporter of video assistance for referees, like all coaches, and I believe UEFA have an important role to play in this. I am for sporting justice and UEFA must be the guarantor of it. I am [also] a supporter of good management of clubs, for financial equilibrium. And UEFA must equally support this idea. I am fighting for the future of the game and of football. I don’t see why UEFA should take umbrage at ideas that are different from theirs.” – Arsene Wenger in L’Equipe.
Platini is a hypocrite. He talks about wanting to level the playing field between small and big clubs and countries keeping home-grown players yet he left France to play in Italy with Juvenuts. Not a small club and not in France. How we can take the man seriously when all his actions contradict the very things he claims to be for? Quite simply, we can’t. Platini only holds the UEFA presidency, in the first place, because he was vetted by Blatter, who uses him to do his dirty work, especially in the press.
Platini’s problem with Wenger is that he is bucking the system. Both Blatter and Platini “sanctioned” Real Madrid’s illegal approach to Ronaldo this summer though it was clearly beyond the rules that both men are sworn to uphold. The fact that the English league is dominating world football just eats at their insides. They can’t stand it. And because of it, Arsene Wenger building a young side that plays some of the best football in Europe for relatively little money is bad but a Spanish club trying to raid an English club by tapping up their best player is more than fine.
In their minds, the shift in balance of European club football from Italy and then Spain, to now England is just wrong. Platini and Blatter stand for the big clubs in Spain and Italy under the cover of trying to help small clubs. They have also shown through their actions this summer that they stand for increased amounts of money being thrown around the game, no matter how financially unsound and unstable, as this strengthens their respective positions as chief administrators and makes their “product” more valuable. If a club goes bankrupt it doesn’t matter to Platini because he will still get his UEFA paycheck.
Then, along comes Arsene Wenger, who runs a club completely within its own financial means without taking on extraneous loans for player purchases, refuses to take on a billionaire sugar-daddy, and has done it by playing younger and younger players, and still doing better than Platini’s beloved Juventus and Real Madrid in the Champions League in the last 4-5 years. If more clubs followed Wenger’s model, which many are beginning to, having seen the long-term benefits, this would not guarantee the increased,unsustainable financial growth that football has enjoyed over the past few years and this is not in the interest of UEFA or FIFA who siphon their power from the soul of the game.
We should have expected this when Chelsea and Manchester United made the Champions League Final last year, but I don’t remember hearing him complain when Milan were in the Final five out of seven years back in the 1990s, or when three of the semi-finalists came from Spain in 2000. This is exactly why we can’t take the man seriously. His obvious and shameless contradictory statements and behavior belie his, and Blatter’s, true agenda, which is to restore Spain or Italy to the top of the European football heap, (or, at the very least, remove England from the top) while encouraging irrational and irresponsible spending by the clubs, whether or not that puts them at financial risk. The man has other interests than the good of the game. And that much is obvious. The sooner that egomaniacal tools like Platini and Blatter are run out of town, the better for everyone who loves the game.