Blick reporter Felix Bingesser.
Felix Bingesserreporter sports
In the kingdom of Siam, white elephants were sacred. Now and then the king would give away one of these “albino elephants” to a disgraced adversary. He then had to feed the animal for years, but was not allowed to use it for work. The voracious pachyderm could drive the man into ruin.
That is why the term “white elephants” is also used to describe sports stadiums that only eat up money after major events, but are no longer of any use. There are quite a few of them in this world. Eight are now also in Qatar.
There, where the most expensive World Cup of all time has just come to an end with a phenomenal final of the century. The most expensive football spectacle of all time costs 220 billion dollars. The second most expensive World Cup took place in Brazil in 2014. It cost 15 billion.
Precisely because we are celebrating the festival of love and charity: 220 billion dollars is roughly the amount that would be needed so that no one in the world would have to go hungry for a year. In Africa alone, four million children are at risk of starvation in 2022.
Well, the hype surrounding Lionel Messi has reached such dimensions that the Christmas story will soon have to be rewritten. The Redeemer is not born in a stable but in a golden stadium. He is not wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger, but wrapped in a black cloak and dragged to the cup.
And next door, a stupid Turkish gold steak chef is dancing and salting the World Cup trophy. Incidentally, the clown received permission to romp around on the field from his buddy Gianni Infantino. They are brothers in spirit.
Is Messi now the greatest of all time? no It’s Diego Armando Maradona. Both once left FC Barcelona. Maradona had more financially lucrative offers. But he went to Naples. In the south of Italy. In a battered, poor working-class town. It was also a mission for him, a political statement. It became the most beautiful love story in football.
Messi followed the call of money. He went to Paris. To those with the coat.
Lionel Messi is the World Player of the Year. He has crowned his grandiose career. But the football personality of the year is Marcel Franke. The Karlsruher SC professional will miss the top game against Darmstadt in October. He’s in the hospital.
Six years earlier he had registered as a stem cell donor in the fight against blood cancer. Then the call comes. Franke reduces training and asks the club for a break. He gets an injection of a growth factor so that the stem cells can be better transported from the bone marrow into the blood. And then the blood is drawn. The procedure takes three hours. “It’s not a big deal, anyone can do it,” he says later.
The 29-year-old does not know whose life he saved. But somewhere someone is celebrating Christmas that they would not have celebrated without Frank.