European Super League: Plans came at the worst moment in football history - Calderon

By Sports Desk April 20, 2021

Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon was frustrated to see 12 elite clubs plotting a European Super League at a time when football needs "solidarity and unity".

Madrid were among a dozen teams to announce their involvement in a new breakaway competition on Sunday.

The lucrative tournament would be a rival to the Champions League, but the 12 "founding clubs" would compete every year and could not be demoted.

While reigning European champions Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain have not yet signed up, which Calderon says is "really important", this threat to the sport's structure comes as clubs attempt to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

For this reason, Calderon - the main man at Madrid between 2006 and 2009 - finds the plans particularly painful.

"The first thought that came to my mind when I read the news about this announcement was that perhaps it came at the worst moment in football history," he told Stats Perform News.

"Many clubs are suffering, are struggling financially because of the pandemic. I think football needs more than ever solidarity and unity to overcome this problem.

"So, I think it's bad news for football and I hope that common sense comes back to everyone and they manage to sort out this situation in the best way possible."

COVID-19 has made money particularly tight at Madrid, where they are also renovating the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Maybe this is the money we need to sort out all the problems we are having and we are facing in the next few years," Calderon suggested.

But UEFA's threat to deny Super League players the opportunity to represent their countries at international level could yet derail the proposals, according to the ex-Madrid chief.

Calderon said: "If that really happens, if they fulfil their threats, I'm sure the clubs will reconsider going on with the project.

"It's impossible if UEFA and FIFA ban clubs and players in the way they have [said] in their statements. I find it difficult that they'd go on with the project."

But that is not the only problem for Calderon, who believes Super League clubs would quickly find their existence tedious playing the same opponents without additional leagues and cup competitions.

"I think they already have the opportunity to see those teams playing against our team," he said.

"But also in our country, and I think in other countries it's the same, fans want to travel to other stadiums, they want to win [against] their neighbours. There's a rivalry always between the clubs from the same country.

"And also there's something interesting nowadays that any club can win three or four competitions, or at least, compete to win them.

"With the Super League, there'll only be one champion. The others won't get a trophy. That's another thing that I don't think they've taken into account.

"Now Barcelona is out of the Champions League, but they won the [Copa del Rey]. So, if they play in the Super League, they'll only be able to win one title.

"That's another interesting thing for fans, for players and for clubs."

Related items

  • Teams from Belarus and Ukraine no longer to be drawn together following Russian invasion Teams from Belarus and Ukraine no longer to be drawn together following Russian invasion

    Teams from Belarus and Ukraine will not be drawn together in future, UEFA has announced.

    European football's governing body has already banned Russian sides from appearing in its competitions following the country's invasion of Ukraine.

    The role of Belarus in facilitating this invasion also prompted sanctions for Belarusian teams.

    UEFA had already decided no matches would be played in Belarus and supporters of Belarusian teams would be banned from attending nominal home games.

    And in a further move announced on Friday, UEFA said it would prevent sides from Belarus and Ukraine from meeting in future competitions.

    "The UEFA Executive Committee will remain on standby to convene further meetings to reassess the legal and factual situation as it evolves and adopt further decisions as necessary," a statement read.

    Meanwhile, UEFA's rules relating to coronavirus for the upcoming Women's Euro 2022 were approved.

    Any players who contract COVID-19 or "who have been anyway put in isolation" will be classed as "cases of serious illness", meaning they can be replaced in their nation's squad ahead of the first match of the tournament.

  • Abraham and Pellegrini make Conference League team alongside five Feyenoord finalists Abraham and Pellegrini make Conference League team alongside five Feyenoord finalists

    Tammy Abraham has been joined in the Europa Conference League team of the season by Roma team-mate Lorenzo Pellegrini, who was named the player of the season.

    Roma claimed their first UEFA trophy on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Feyenoord in the inaugural Conference League final.

    Nicolo Zaniolo grabbed the decisive goal for the Giallorossi, but his attacking colleagues were preferred in a best XI named on Friday.

    Leading scorer Abraham and captain Pellegrini were among four Roma players recognised, with goalkeeper Rui Patricio and centre-back Chris Smalling also included after inspired performances against Feyenoord.

    Italy midfielder Pellegrini scooped the top individual award, but Feyenoord were also well represented, including young player of the year honours for Luis Sinisterra.

    Sinisterra registered 10 goal involvements (six goals and four assists) throughout the tournament, second only to team-mate and top marksman Cyriel Dessers (11 involvements), whose 10 goals made him the sole man to beat Abraham's tally of nine.

    Both Feyenoord forwards made the cut for the team selection, alongside defenders Lutsharel Geertruida, Gernot Trauner and Tyrell Malacia.

    Dimitri Payet was also included, as well as sealing the goal of the season award for his sweetly struck effort against PAOK in Marseille's quarter-final.

     

    Europa Conference League team of the season: Rui Patricio (Roma); Lutsharel Geertruida (Feyenoord), Chris Smalling (Roma), Gernot Trauner (Feyenoord), Tyrell Malacia (Feyenoord); Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Leicester City), Luis Sinisterra (Feyenoord); Cyriel Dessers (Feyenoord), Tammy Abraham (Roma).

  • 'He's already the best in France' – Ronaldinho says Mbappe will continue making history after agreeing PSG stay 'He's already the best in France' – Ronaldinho says Mbappe will continue making history after agreeing PSG stay

    Kylian Mbappe is already the best player in France and can continue to make history after signing his new contract with Paris Saint-Germain, according to Ronaldinho.

    Last week, Mbappe agreed a new three-year deal with the Ligue 1 champions, rejecting Real Madrid's public advances in a huge transfer blow to the Champions League finalists.

    The World Cup-winning forward scored 39 goals and added 21 assists during a remarkable individual season with PSG, as Mauricio Pochettino's team secured a10th league title in the club's history.

    The 23-year-old is already the second-highest Ligue 1 goalscorer in PSG history, scoring 171 goals in 217 league outings for the Parisian giants – only Edinson Cavani (200 goals in 301 games) has more.

    Former PSG star Ronaldinho, who scored 25 goals in two seasons with the club before departing for Barcelona in 2003, says Mbappe is already out-shining team-mates Lionel Messi and Neymar.

    However, Ronaldinho also insisted PSG would have been able to cope had the France star left for Madrid, highlighting the quality of his team-mates.

    "Right now, of the future... he's a player that could be part of history," he told Mail Online. "He deserves all the respect he's getting. He is making history and can continue to create happiness for us in this game.

    "Today he is the best player for PSG. If he left to go anywhere else, it would only be to have the chance to be the best player in another country. He's already the best in France.

    "Paris Saint-Germain has some of the best players in the world right now – Messi, Neymar, Sergio Ramos. 

    "Some of the best players in the world are in this team. So, if one of the best players in the world leaves, other top players will continue in their place."

     

    Meanwhile, Ronaldinho's former Barcelona team-mate Messi endured a mixed first season in France, recording 11 goals and 14 assists in all competitions but being jeered by his own fans in the aftermath of March's Champions League defeat to Madrid.

    However, Ronaldinho insists the Argentine is happy in Paris, highlighting his 2021 Ballon d'Or win as evidence of his continued quality.

    The former Camp Nou star also insists Barcelona will recover from Messi's departure and return to the top of the game under Xavi's management, backing the Blaugrana boss to create another "beautiful" team.

    'If my friend is happy, it's the right decision, and I believe he is very happy," Ronaldinho said of Messi. "He is going through a period of adapting, but he's already been voted the best player in the world.

    "People said they were surprised when I left Barcelona and when Messi left. But Barcelona continues to be Barcelona. 

    "Things change in football, naturally. Now the club's hierarchy needs to bring in new players with talent to continue being successful.

    "They already have a great coach who has a foundation in the history of the club. So, the club can begin it's rebuild with this manager to create a beautiful team. They need to now give the manager the opportunity to build a great team.

    "It won't be easy. They need a bit more time to build a side that is based around the best players. But I think players are happy to be playing for one of the best teams in the world."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.