El Centrocampista

THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE – Javi Poves makes a stand against moneymen

By Olly Dawes

The strike that has brought Spanish Football to a standstill is the hottest topic around at the moment , even pushing the recent el clásico eye-gauging incident out of the headlines.

Clubs in Spain owe around €58m to their players, prompting the AFE (Association of Spanish Footballers) to call a full strike of all Spanish football matches.

Meetings are being held to try and prevent the strike disruping the second week of matches in La Liga.

Among the plethora of world stars such as Carles Puyol, Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso adding their support to the strike, one lesser-name player has made a dramatic and sacrificial stand against football’s money men.

Javi Poves is a 24-year-old defender who plied his trade for Sporting Gijon’s B side, having previously been a member of Atlético Madrid’s second string.

Last season he broke into the first team, making his debut at the end of May.

Samuel Eto'o will be smiling all the way to the bank after his Russia move.

But that was his last appearance for Sporting Gijon.

In fact, it was his last-ever game of professional football.

Poves has had enough.

Frustrated at how the game is dominated by money, Poves has announced his retirement.

The more you know about football the more you realise it is all about money,” he said, “that it is rotten and this takes away your enthusiasm.

“What point is there is earning 800 or 1000 euros if you know that you are obtaining it through the suffering of many people?

“I want everyone to be equal and that we all unite and stop arguing over trivial matters and try to move forward. As it stands the world is preparing to destroy itself.”

It didn’t stop there though – it is reported that Poves wouldn’t allow Gijon to pay him through bank transfer because he thought the banks would be ‘speculating over his money’ and also returned the keys of a car to one of his sponsors.

It’s an admirable stance to take, but enough to change a dynamic in football?


As we enter an era where commercialisation is at it’s highest, football risks losing not only clubs, but now players.

Rayo Vallecano won promotion, but their players are owed their wages from as far back as October 2010.

If any of them feel as strongly as Poves, then we may see similar stories to this one.

But as we see Samuel Eto’o set to embark on a Russian adventure to the tune of £340,000 per week, the fundamentals of football are being called into question.

One week of Eto’o’s new wages could pay a whole squad’s wages in the lower leagues.

For one whole year.

Credit to Poves for proving that ethics and morals do still exist in football – but it remains to be seen whether it will make a true difference.

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