Stripped Euro 2020 signals football is moving away from celebrity cult | Euro 2020

Aif he walks the chinchilla fur alleys of his personal quarters, munching on moon rock and filtered grasshopper tears, and occasionally breaking his daily round of 12,000 neck crunches for a primal scream session of 40 minutes, there is at least one consolation for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Portugal may have been eliminated from Euro 2020, despite their own scoring efforts. But in better news, Ronaldo also tops “Instagram’s rich list,” according to a company called HopperHQ, which released a statement on Wednesday announcing that Ronaldo had been officially inducted as the best “celebrity and influencer”. paid.

Each Ronaldo Instagram post is said to bring in $ 1.6 million, a figure that seems, in isolation, completely insane. That’s enough to elevate him above pop aces Ariana Grande and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (action star and now, unfortunately, bald cheat), who are trailing behind a man whose first step into the game. World mega-famous came in as Nicky Butt’s replacement against Bolton.

The rules of the binary universe state that it should be emphasized here that Lionel Messi, stuck on a laughable 1.2 million dollars per post, is at No.7. Virat Kohli is at No.19, just in front of Rihanna, a decent performance given that he plays a sport which we are told is unpopular with young people. David Beckham is at # 29, still hanging around, still a thing, a master these days of the bewildered-step-father-trying-to-figure-algebra-assignment frown.

And yes, none of that matters outside of this insane trading world. But that highlights another surprising thing about these surprising euros. There aren’t many stars left.

As we move closer to the quarter-finals, the majority of footballers who identify as A-listers, commercial powers or the elite of established club football have left the tournament: Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappé, Robert Lewandowski, various Germans and pretty much those who have already been on the Ballon d’Or podium.

After the last 16 games, a total of 29 Champions League-winning footballers had returned home. Fourteen remained, almost all unstarred defensive players. There is no doubt that this is in part simply a function of the print run results and the fine margins. But it is also a notable departure from the usual process.

Cristiano Ronaldo caused a storm on social media when he traded the sponsor’s Coca-Cola bottles placed in front of him at a press conference and advised people to “drink water”. Photo: UEFA / EPA document

There are obvious reasons why Euro 2020 feels different, but this reminder of the cult of personality is another part. It’s easy to forget that recent tournaments have been overshadowed by some sort of star iconography, cowardly celebrity cult. During the 2018 World Cup, Russian cities were decorated with Stalinist-scale marketing murals of the idols of the time: a Ronaldo frieze, a head of Messi in the shape of a sphinx, a giant Neymar singing on the facade of shopping center.

That was the direction of the trip. Four years earlier, it was noted that the television production of these great summer tournaments had taken on a more sensual and persistent tone. Even the players’ outfits had changed, adapted to a more flattering and ripped model, mobile sporting seam. Suddenly we were faced for a few moments with cinematic close-ups, events on the pitch interpreted through an instant reaction cut to the most salable star. A single post is worth a million dollars. Why not put big handfuls of them all over the network when you get the chance?

It’s easy to forget that brands and marketers weren’t always so involved in the mix. Social media began asserting their own violent gravitational force in Brazil 2014, where Adidas claimed to have touched the lives of 5 billion followers (there were approximately 7.25 billion people on the planet). Germany’s 7-1 semi-final victory in Belo Horizonte was a springboard in the rise of Twitter. The fifth goal of Sami Khedira, the back-end hot dog seller, set a new record for tweets per minute.

That thing, that presence, was on the ground now, and on your knees. Since then, we’ve been treated with trademark hijackings during the tournament, memes reaction teams, stunts, merks, corporate identities plastered all over our waking life, our dream space.

Not so much this time around. This stripped-down tournament hasn’t been a celebrity billboard, nor a constant game of branding posture, beyond the usual scrolling ads and company name checks. In a strange synchronicity, the action on the pitch was characterized by collective effort, by chemistry and combinations, by teams playing to the limit of their emotions and abilities.

There was a reaction to this. The media machine, the star personality instinct, is still there. In England there have been attempts to make Raheem Sterling a full-fledged cover star, the visible face of the progression to the quarter-finals. In practice, this looks like another way to get it wrong from Sterling, a footballer who doesn’t seek that light, who is above all a team man, a hard-working overall player, and as such a handsome. example of the best pieces of these euros.

It is of course important to distinguish the process, the commodification of a sports identity, from the human at its center. Seeing Messi clips at the Copa América was like receiving a holiday postcard from a favorite and loving uncle.

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Ronaldo, the real Ronaldo, is an inspiring person and an uplifting story. Perhaps his Coke bottle moment at this tournament may even mean a shift in power, with players taking over the retailing of their own talent, no longer beholden to those inane connections with a brand, a brand. drink, a hamburger. Maybe we are just between generations, waiting for new stars as the old ones grow old and die.

Whatever the reason, it has been a truly refreshing sight, a break from the constant fascination of the club football personality; and also a reminder that international gaming is in many ways the purest form of that bloated entertainment product, something gamers do out of love, for shared experience, and for a deeper notion of fame.

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