The president of football’s crumbling European Super League project has cited teenagers’ enjoyment of video games as a reason to constantly pit the continent’s elite teams against each other like some starry-eyed, fair-weather, DualShock-tapping spiv.
Laying out his since-decimated scheme, Florentino Perez told El Chiringuito: “40% of young people aren’t interested in football because there are too many games of low quality.
“Teenagers are more interested in playing video games than in football these days, and we have to do something to bring them back,” he went on. “We have to change something to make this sport more attractive at a global level … We might have to make the football match shorter if it’s not interesting.”
But despite looking like a CGI chameleon, his attempt to blend into his snot-nosed grandchildren’s PlayStation games and take all of football with him has failed. As one placard outside Stamford Bridge put it, “We want our cold nights in Stoke”. And maybe we didn’t want those in our teenage years, when only a big Champions League tie could distract us from killing sprees on Grand Theft Auto, but that didn’t mean we expected Tony Pulis to start torching the pitch with Molotov cocktails and carving up the fourth official in a desperate plea for our time.
Normal supporters grow up at some point, and they begin to value football’s subtler moments for bringing greater meaning to the spectacular ones. Perez will never understand that because he can only identify with an insatiable teenage hedonism that he claims warrants turning our real-life national sport into Fortnite – if only he could first find a way past his own final boss, Gary Neville.