The death knell tolls for the age of the one-club man in the departure of Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur after a 19-year odyssey.
The England captain’s leap across the footballing map to Bayern Munich signals the end of footballing monogamy – once marked by the likes of Francesco Totti (AS Roma), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, barring a brief stint at Los Angeles Galaxy in the end), Mark Noble (West Ham) or Ryan Giggs (Manchester United).
Loyalty among fans in football have always burned brighter than the floodlights that illuminated the pitch but the romance in the notion of a player dedicating his entire career to a singular crest, a beacon of devotion in a shifting landscape is now dead.
The icons of the game – Lionel Messi, John Terry, or Kane – have readily forsaken the colours they adorned, trading them for new banners, new anthems, new fans, new homes.
The 30-year-old Kane’s departure to the German shores can be attributed to a player’s perennial allure of missing silverware – Spurs’ last trophy triumph came at the League Cup in 2007-08, two seasons before Kane made his debut.
But long-term allegiance to a club is not always career sacrifice. Paolo Maldini won seven league and five European titles during his 25-year AC Milan stint, while Barcelona’s Carles Puyol won six La Liga titles and three European trophies.
The generation epitomised by Maldini, Puyol or Totti, Daniele de Rossi dancing solely for the Giallorossi, Gerrard’s Merseyside marrow are no longer tenable in a world moulded by commercial interests.
Here, multi-million-dollar deals are enough to uproot local legends, replanting them in the boondocks [Saudia Arabia, USA] of the global game.
Lionel Messi’s migration from Camp Nou to the glittering embrace of Qatar-backed Paris Saint-Germain, then swayed by David Beckham’s Miami reverie, exemplifies the gravitational lure of money and change.
In this shifting landscape of ever-increasing weekly salaries, joining bonuses and share of gate and television receipts, these departures indicate the poignant conclusion of an era.
The one-club man, now, is a relic of nostalgia; a misfit in an age where allegiances shift as swiftly as everyday social media trends.
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