Wenger Just Doesn't Get it, Cries About it
Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger is crying because he has to share some of his players with their respective national teams. He feels that players wear themselves when on national team duty and return to his team less than 100%. Of course, this has been going on since forever and club coaches have dealt with it accordingly. Simply, it's the way soccer works, the way it has worked marvelously for decade upon decade. But Wenger takes exception.
Says Wenger in between sobs while wiping tears from the corner of his eyes:
"Gerard (Houllier's) thoughts on the matter echo mine," Wenger said. "He thinks that what the national coaches are doing is like taking the car from his garage without even asking permission.
"They will then use the car for 10 days and abandon it in a field without any petrol left in the tank.
"We then have to recover it, but it is broken down. Then a month later they will come to take your car again, and for good measure you're expected to be nice about it."
Cry me a river.
Normally, I find Wenger to be an OK guy, but you know what? Fuck him.
He's barking up the wrong tree if he thinks club soccer can call out international soccer. The international game will always, always, always come first, no matter how much money is involved with the club game. Think about it. Players are almost always remembered for what they do when they don the jersey of their country - first and foremost. Club exploits are remembered far less vividly.
Who remembers Pele for what he did with Santos? He's remembered for what he did with Brazil.
Maradona won titles with Napoli, which was all the more impressive considering that the Big Three in Italy usually win everything. But he'll always be remembered for getting red carded against Brazil in 1982 and lifting the trophy in 1986 while wearing the Argentine stripes.
Zinedine Zidane won numerous trophies with Bordeaux, Juventus and Real Madrid. But what will he be remembered for? Winning the World Cup in 1998 and the headbutt in 2006.
Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten won trophies in Holland and then won everything in sight while together with AC Milan in Italy. But they'll always be remembered first for that great Holland team at the 1988 EURO championships and the disappointment of 1990.
Luis Figo has had a great club career, but years from now the exploits (disappointment?) of Portugal's "Golden Generation" are what will come to mind first when his name is mentioned.
The list goes on and on.
Soccer players hop from club to club to club, even far moreso than athletes in American sports. Naturally, that takes something away from the meaning of it all - if only a little.
Sure, club football is massive in popularity and rolling in $$$$, but in the end, the international game always has and always will be more important. Period. Wenger can cry and whine all he wants, but players aren't stupid. No matter how big their bank accounts get, they know that to truly cement their legacies they need to play for their country and do something great on the biggest stage.
Wenger needs to change his diaper and pipe down. Dude has a freakin' all-star team at his disposal at all times, so make your lineup according to the present situation and realize your place on the totem pole.
His players at Arsenal are, essentially, mercenaries, merely passing through and colelcting enormous paychecks. They've played for other clubs before and will move onto new clubs in the future.
But they all have only one country for which they can play and it's on the international stage where legends are truly born.