Ribery’s woes are a cau­tion­ary tale

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT -

THE mind bog­gles at the life­styles of the rich and fa­mous.

A lot of it is driven by bore­dom we sup­pose. Not for them the reg­u­lar, the or­di­nary, the ev­ery day. When you can have any­thing and every­thing you want, only the best will do.

More than any­thing it seems to be a per­for­ma­tive thing. Why wear a gaudy, clunky €100,000 watch? To show that you can. To show that you’re wealthy enough to. To show that you be­long in that strata of so­ci­ety.

There are things peo­ple of im­mense wealth do that sim­ply wouldn’t cross our minds. Like say, for ex­am­ple, spend­ing €1,200 on a gold-gilded steak. Un­til a few days ago we had no idea such a thing ex­isted, let alone that it could be pur­chased, but thanks to Franck Ribery now we do.

The French in­ter­na­tional – long a mag­net for con­tro­versy – posted a pic­ture of him­self with said steak in Dubai last week, un­leash­ing a fire storm of crit­i­cism of him. It’s in­ter­est­ing to con­sider why peo­ple re­acted so fu­ri­ously to Ribery and to the golden steak.

Ev­ery fan of the game knows the crazy money these guys earn. It can’t have come as a sur­prise to any­body that Ribery could af­ford to spend €1,200 on a steak. When eigh­teen and nine­teen-year olds are buy­ing Baby Bent­leys, what’s €1,200?

A pit­tance, a drop in an ocean of vast wealth and, yet, there’s some­thing so ut­terly deca­dent about the idea of a golden steak – you would lit­er­ally flush the gold down the toi­let – that peo­ple’s re­ac­tion is un­der­stand­able.

It went to show how far re­moved from his roots this work­ing class hero had gone. It showed quite vividly how out of whack foot­ball has gone from the lives of those who sup­port it.

Prob­a­bly, yes, the abuse dished out to Ribery went over the line, but the spit­ting, snarling con­temp­tu­ous re­sponse of Ribery to the crit­i­cism made his crit­ics’ point for him.

The game’s gone.

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