Sergio Ramos' tribute to the Olympic Games
Sergio Ramos announced that he would like to take part in the Tokyo Games. This is yet another player who has achieved everything in his sport, but longs for the glory of having participated in the Olympics. I say another, because at various times Casillas and Ronaldo, also satiated with titles in professional football, told me that they were missing that accolade in their career: an Olympics, at least one, the parade, soaking up the atmosphere, maybe picking up a medal... Both could have done it during their era, but they instead put all focus into their incipient career, where the advice was to avoid a summer's absence that could be crucial for their future.
Olympics drove football away
It's curious, because football and Olympism have always looked at each other suspiciously. Football was professionalised before other sports and in the late 1920s was expelled from the Olympic movement. That's why the World Cup was created. It was readmitted for the 1936 edition with a strict rule over it being for ‘amateurs’. Olympic football took a minor role and this has continued even after Samaranch removed the taboo of professionalism. Well paid athletes were allowed, football no longer had a barrier, but it had, by then, progressed its own World Cup. They stayed apart. The Olympic competition was used as a kind of tournament of potential stars. The U23s play, with three experienced additions included.
Sergio Ramos should not go
One of those three places is what Sergio Ramos has quietly requested. But this could prove difficult. For good reason and fairness preference is given to those who achieved qualification. Among them are nine players that by that time will have passed the age limit. It is only fair that the older places are given to three of the nine. Selecting Ramos for his reputation would have its merits, but his presence in Tokyo would feel very forced, as well as taking him away from Madrid during a commercially-busy period. But his desire is a clear tribute to Olympism, confirming that even the greatest footballers recognise the Olympic event on a superior level. And they miss it.
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