The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

17Jul08

Almost. One thing about following European and Global Soccer is that there is never really an off-season, only different seasons and different battles. Euro 2008 picked up right after the Champions’ League concluded, a competition based on the altruism and the pride of representing one’s country. While the tournament was thrilling, and the players’ efforts honorable, Euro 2008 is proving to be a relative calm before the storm.

It’s transfer season in international soccer, and if you follow a major club, it’s almost like Christmas. While players changing teams is a part of every professional sports league, no market is quite like that of soccer. While team’s of any sport can lure players with big contracts, in soccer, players are flat out bought and sold, and this is standard practice. This essentially nullifies a free agent market in the game, with the exception of teenagers, who are highly sought after to join youth academies as a farm system for major clubs. For example, if the MLB had the same system as international soccer, the Yankees, Red Sox, or other big market teams could literally buy any player from any team with the player and the other team’s consent. The middle step of offering up prospects and other players is cut out.

This summer has proven to be an especially competitive one in the transfer market, with almost all of the world’s top players in talks to move from their current clubs. The best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, has been the subject of most of the transfer talk, with rumors having him going to Real Madrid. So how much would Real pay for Ronaldo?

Rumors have put that number at 100 million Euros. Just to have the contract.

You have to respect that the European game is almost honest about the commercialism involved in their sport. It is an interesting phenomenon amongst soccer fans, that they tend support their club no matter who is on the field. Players are though to come and go, however the club is forever.

My favorite club, Chelsea, is always a force in the transfer market, or at least they have been since billionaire Roman Abromavich bought the club earlier this decade. And with a new manager, Chelsea are sure to re-shape their team. Here’s to hoping money can buy happiness.

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