Soldiers or forwards: Is European soccer trading ethical?

Heather Barkman shows off her soccer skills.
(Printed with permission from Heather Barkman.)

A sport that has been growing in popularity and success is soccer. With players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar Junior, the stakes are high in terms of who plays for what team. While some players play in tournaments for their native countries, others mainly play for various professional or local teams. Lately, however, Neymar and Vincinus Junior have surfaced in the news because of their new contracts with different teams. This is not an uncommon occurrence in the world of soccer, however, is it ethical?

Vinicius is a 19-year-old Brazilian soccer player who went from the Brazilian team of Flamengo to the Real Madrid team.  He was sold to the team for 38 million euros, equal to $38 million. When he was traded to the Spanish soccer team, Vinicius was heartbroken but also hopeful for his success. Flamengo was his home team and like a family to him. Suddenly, Vincinis found himself being traded to a professional European team like valuable merchandise. Because he is not accustomed, the young soccer star has had difficulties keeping up with Real Madrid’s strict practices and regimens. Given his lack of professional experience, Vincinus playing in an unfamiliar position, is often benched.  With this in perspective, why should he be traded off like produce? And, to be fair, he is not the only successful soccer player in the league who is treated this way.

Neymar has been on the news recently for this very reason. As most sports fans would know, Neymar went from the FC Barcelona team to the Paris Saint-Germain F.C. team in 2017. Although Neymar preferred the Barcelona team, Paris Saint-Germain held the best offer. Neymar was traded to Paris Saint-Germain for 220 million euros, which is equivalent to $245 million and since then, the Barcelona team has been trying to buy him back. Neymar’s teammates have even tried to offer up enough of their own money so that Neymar could be brought back to their team. Other teams like Real Madrid have had their sights on Neymar as well. The desire to have him on the Real Madrid team has grown so much that Paris Saint-Germain is willing to give up Neymar in exchange for Vinicius Jr., treating them like chess pieces. At the moment, no one is able to beat Paris Saint-Germain’s asking price for Neymar and he remains on their team. However, it is evident from both the players and Neymar’s reaction that he would rather play for Barcelona. 

With this in mind, the question that is being asked is: is this ethical to the players? Most players, like Neymar and Vinicius, joined local soccer teams when they were incredibly young and because of their passion for the sport. Predominantly seen in Latin American and Brazilian culture, it is an immense honor to participate in soccer and get to a professional level. The players now play more for money or their boss’s monetary deals, than for the team they love and have found a second family within. This is not only unfair to the players, as they become game pieces, but it takes the heart and passion out of a sport that is incredibly important to Latin American culture and the cultures that are growing in interest for the sport. 

Leave a Reply