A number of current and former players from across Europe have hit out at plans for a European Super League, with Paris St-Germain midfielder Ander Herrera amongst the most vocal.
On Sunday, 12 Founder Clubs announced they intended to create and govern their own European competition, much to the incredulity of fans and leagues across the continent.
On Monday, several players rejected the idea and Herrera – whose French club are not among the 12 founding members – said the project would kill the dreams of fans across the globe.
“I fell in love with popular football, with the football of the fans, with the dream of seeing the team of my heart compete against the greatest,” the ex-Manchester United player tweeted.
“If this European Super League advances, those dreams are over, the illusions of the fans of the teams that are not giants of being able to win on the field competing in the best competitions will end.
“I love football and I cannot remain silent about this. I believe in an improved Champions League, but not in the rich stealing what the people created, which is nothing other than the most beautiful sport on the planet.”
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes added a post to his Instagram account from Portugal team mate and Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Daniel Podence, which criticised the idea, adding the comment “dreams can’t be buy (sic)”.
Ex-Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan midfielder Luis Figo – whose former clubs have all signed up to the Super League – was equally scathing.
“This so called ‘Superleague’ is anything but ‘Super’,” the Portuguese said.
“This greedy and callous move would spell disaster for our grassroots, for womenâ€™s football, and the wider football community only to serve self-interested owners, who stopped caring about their fans long ago, and complete disregard for sporting merit. Tragic,” he wrote on twitter.
Zenit St Petersburg’s former Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren and Fenerbahce’s ex-Arsenal and Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil also criticised the idea.
“Football will be in the near future on a brink of complete collapse. Nobody is thinking about the bigger picture, only the financial side,” the Croatia defender wrote on twitter.
“I still believe we can solve this unpleasant situation.”
The Super League clubs also announced their intention to create a parallel women’s competition but Olympique Lyonnais’s five-time Champions League winner Ada Hegerberg slammed the plans as greedy.
“I grew up loving the Champions League, then I got to play in the Women’s Champions League,” she said.
“Then I got to win five of them and become the all-time leading goalscorer. It’s legacy. It’s the past, present, and future, so is meritocracy in sports. Greed is not the future.”