The first thought, of course, is no, it’s bad. The second thought is yes, it has some positive aspects. At least, every leaving player is freeing space for the next three ones. If we look at the situation closely, it’s quite ambiguous.
The players that go to Europe can be divided into four types. Type number one. Geniuses. Players, that go on playing their fantastic football as if they never traded continents. Often they singlehandedly raise some modest European club to the status of a superclub. This was what Maradona did to Napoli, Bebeto – to Deportivo, Erwin Sanchez – to Boavista, Riquelme – to Villareal. Romario and Tevez are clearly from this same category, although they moved to big clubs. There are, obviously, more players of that type. Maybe Ronaldinho, clearly Saviola, maybe Aimar.
Type number two. Die-Hard Latins and Non-Conformers. Equally talented, after having taken the first look at what‘s going on in European football, they refuse to play the local style which they understandably don’t understand, immediately get sick with nostalgia and turn the lasting contract into a nightmare for their employers. Typical representatives of that category would be Ortega and Cavenaghi. Brazilian Alex might be too. Of course, Martin Palermo. Usually upon returning back home they explode with joy and enthusiasm and produce great football (for example, this was the way Ortega made Newell’s a champion).
Type number three. Workers. These players do understand the gap between Latin American and European football, but agree that they arrived to earn money. In their first seasons, they usually stun people with what they were taught at home, but quite quickly the local football swallows them and makes them conform. After three to four years spent in Europe they are not anymore Latins by heart nor by style. Upon their return to homeland they feel awkward and it takes them quite many efforts to recall what the genuine football is about. The brightest example is Claudio Lopez. Also that would be players like Silvinho, Mancini, Belletti, Sorin, Roque Santa Cruz. Not saying about Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Cafu. Sergio Aguero is already showing the signs of conformism. Looks like he, sadly, understood, how easy it is to score in Europe, and how few European fans are able to value something other than goals. I bet, Messi in two years will turn into a typical Spaniard. He won't be Argentinean anymore. Kaka seems to be going along the same road too. He has started to run too much and too rapidly.
Type number four. Pure Conformers and Europeans by Heart. You may call them also Wrongly Born. There is a certain category of players who are considered mediocre or completely unknown at home, but turn into superstars in Europe. Kily Gonzalez, Deco, Matuzalem, Heinze, Emerson. They rarely know playing classic Latin style and find European football very comfortable. Veron is that type too, although he had been considered a star by many in Argentina. His style is too European.
So, what do I feel when Latin Americans go to Europe? If it’s type number four, I don’t care. If it’s a talented player, I feel pity. I would like them to play at home till they are at least 23. Otherwise, in most cases we witness broken careers and sold souls.
Poor Maxi Morales!...