For years, football has been a sport that has been built on the culture of the team ahead of the individual. That being said, it is pretty clear that teams can be elevated or held back by one single player. A team without that clinical striker, or without that defensive leader, can run just short of winning titles by the dozen.
However, over the years, many a star player and key object in a winning team has been forgotten about. Has football become a sport that forgets some of its more illustrious participants ahead of time?
While new legends are born and stories are written, some players can fade to obscurity relative to talent. For example, take the great Garrincha. Rated as one of the best of all-time by most who seen him play or took to the field against him, the man was a legend of his or any time.
As they say about many stars of previous eras, put him in a modern team and give him a modern physique and he would be among the best in the world.
Indeed, Garrincha is just one of the many names who have slowly but surely been forgotten by the footballing masses. If you have time, go ahead and look back on all of the Brazil World Cup wins. You will see for yourself how many names on those lists who you have never heard of. Even the 2002 World Cup squad has players totally overshadowed by the likes of Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Cafu, Ronaldinho, and Rivaldo.
Football, though, is a team sport and it is easy to see why players are so often forgotten. When a team wins, the era is remembered for the team as a whole.
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Commemorating players across eras is a huge challenge
Part of the difficulty most find with the subject is being able to keep someone in the headlines. Even look back across the past five years of football, and many protagonists even in 2015 are likely seen as surplus to requirements in their current teams. The immense popularity of football means that the churn is so great that players can be brought in, risen to the stars, and then forgotten about all within the space of a half-decade.
No other sport in the world has such a large pool of players to pick from. As such, despite some players who achieve absolute greatness being adored at the time, within a few years of their peak ending they are often consigned to the dustbin of history. For those who remember their personal achievements, they might simply live on forever in their minds.
For the majority who no longer get to see them outside of video, who have heroes of their own in the current era to watch, though? It’s hard to remember every superstar. Football has a rich habit of producing players that shine for a few short years before fading away; it can be tough to remember every star, no matter how bright.
For the stars of today, though; embrace the now, because tomorrow you might be a footnote in the entire sport.