Mesut Ozil and Ander Herrera voice opposition to European Super League as players begin to speak out

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Karl Matchett
·2-min read
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 (Getty)
(Getty)

While fan groups, organisation leaders and former players have queued up to deride the plans of clubs forming the European Super League, players from the sides involved have not yet had their say.

In time they will be asked in press conferences, post-match interviews or simply put their thoughts out via social media, but for now there’s a predictable silence from all 12 of the clubs involved.

The first dissenting voices from current players have come from two former Premier League individuals in Mesut Ozil and Ander Herrera, with the potential that others could follow.

Ozil, formerly of Arsenal and Real Madrid - two clubs involved as founders - and now with Fenerbahce in Turkey, tweeted his disdain of the proposed competition due to the built-up nature of those infrequent high-profile clashes that players and fans alike look forward to.

“The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week. Really hard to understand for all football fans out there,” he said.

Herrera, a former midfielder of another founder club in Manchester United, similarly spoke out against what would be an end to competitive action at the highest level.

“If this European Super League advances, those dreams are over,” he wrote on Twitter. “The illusions of the fans of the teams that are not giants being able to win on the field competing in the best competitions will end.”

Adding that he “cannot remain silent”, Herrera accepted Champions League reform was necessary but criticised Super League plans as “the rich stealing what people created”.

There will, predictably and perhaps correctly, be some who point to the irony of these - or indeed many others - top-level players calling out any nature of greed or money-grabbing, given Ozil was on a huge contract at Arsenal and opted against taking salary cuts or departing without payment when he was out of the team, while Herrera now plays at PSG, one of the richest clubs on the planet. That may be true, and it may be that some clubs even point players in the direction of comments which simply serve their own interests best.

But the more important aspect may yet turn out to be them simply unstoppering the dam and providing the path for more players to speak their mind on the matter, whether they are for or against the proposals which will fundamentally alter the way they are asked to perform and the trophies they can win.

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