Was Villa right to make Sporting gesture?
The Spanish international striker announced before the match that he would not celebrate if he scored.
“I will not celebrate out of respect for the team which saw me born as a professional and which helped be become who I am,” the 26-year-old said.
Villa was true to his word, showing no sign of pleasure when he netted from the penalty spot in Valencia’s 3-2 defeat.
It was a nice nod of the head to a club Villa clearly still loves, but I wonder if Valencia fans are completely happy about it. Shouldn’t highly paid professionals be giving their hearts, minds and bodies to the cause of their employers?
Villa’s stance recalls the famous case of Denis Law.
The Scottish striker spent his best years at Manchester United and moved back to former club Manchester City in his final season.
Law looked utterly mortified when he scored against United with a backheel during the final game of the season, a goal that would have sealed their relegation had that not already been confirmed by events elsewhere.
Remember also the reactions of some of the players at Euro 2008 who have allegiance to more than one country.
Germany’s Lukas Podolski lowered his head and showed little sign of joy after scoring both goals in his team’s opener against Poland, the country of his birth.
Swiss-Turkish joint national Hakan Yakin gave Switzerland the lead over Turkey in a group match and bowed his head before motioning for his team-mates to cool their euphoria.
Are these just the annoying antics of self-indulgent soccer stars? Or should we admire their sense of loyalty?