Xabi Alonso announced his retirement in true Xabi Alonso style, only that’s just it, it wasn’t *true* Xabi Alonso style; it was just a PR stunt, a development of the brand and the reputation the former Liverpool midfielder has manufactured over the years.
The current Bayern Munich midfielder’s reputation is inflated because he looks great in filtered pictures…
…and knows how to play us football fans like a fiddle: “I’ll carry a pair of Copa Mundials – even though I haven’t worn them for years – to make myself look edgy. That should lockdown the brand loyalty for the XA clothing range I eventually want to launch.”
Alonso isn’t the only footballer manipulating the fans; Andrea Pirlo has been doing it for years, and to such success, that there’s people out there who believe the former Juventus man never leaves home without a glass of Malbec in his hand. Cultured.
The master of playing the audience, though? Well that’s none other than Pirlo’s former teammate, Gianluigi Buffon.
“Who do I prefer not to play? Leicester.
“They are a dangerous and passionate team who can cause trouble for opponents who take the initiative. We would have everything to lose.”
Ahh bravo, Gianluigi; let’s fuel and add to the fairytale that everyone is talking about, in a way that now invites you to become part of the story.
The sheer cheek of the Turin goalkeeper pretending that Real Madrid, who have won the Champions League 11 times, five-time winners Barcelona and Bayern Munich, are not the teams he and his teammates want to avoid.
Perhaps there’s an element of mind games from the ‘keeper who loyally stayed on his megabucks contract when Juventus were relegated to Serie B(?) But mind games are so late 1990s/early 00s, now. And can you really convince Gareth Bale, Arjen Robben and Neymar that Buffon would rather have Marc Albrighton lining up a shot against him, than one of those three?!
The truth is, all of these ‘icons’ are people you don’t want to bump into in the street, because the enigma they’ve created isn’t them, and you’ll see them for the Average Joes they’re. And there’s nothing wrong with being that, but Average Joes don’t sell a brand – unless it’s a Dodgeball team.