From Simon Kuper in FT, high class sports journalism,
Maradona offered the spectacle of the footballer’s struggle with the inner man. Messi offers only a perfectly professional genius, as if Claude Monet had signed a contract to produce masterpieces twice a week and then actually did.And how Rupert Murdoch and Silvio Berlusconi revolutionized football,
Before the 1990s, few matches were televised. A European fan might have seen Pelé play perhaps 10 times in his career, whether on TV or in the stadium. Then Rupert Murdoch and Silvio Berlusconi built TV channels on football. Suddenly the game had to become more entertaining. Stars were now TV content, and so they needed protection. Football’s authorities cracked down on fouls, banning the tackle from behind. Today, Lionel Messi gets a free kick almost whenever he is touched. TV made big clubs richer. A very few rich clubs came to monopolise the best players.