Players will be players - on the field and off


It mystifies me why there has been such a palaver over the revelations that Wayne Rooney slept with a hooker. Prostitutes in football are as common as boots and shinguards – all around the world.

What’s extraordinary is that such stories don’t make the news more often. Young footballers loaded up with testosterone, ego and more cash than they know what to do with are prime customers for ladies of the night.

It wasn’t so long ago that Cristiano Ronaldo was dating one, a rather fetching Brazilian called Fernanda.

Wildly talented, sexed up, full of himself, using prostitutes hasn’t been deleterious to Ronaldo’s awesome ability on the football field. In fact, getting his rocks off as much as he humanly can is probably good for his football. A settled mind delivers a focused footballer.

So why is there still in Anglo-Saxon societies such pressure for young men to marry early?

Sir Alex Ferguson, Rooney’s manager at Manchester United, thinks marriage helps players “settle down” and is “good for the stability of a footballer”.

If that is so, Sir Alex, why are so many high profile players allegedly being busted sleeping with women outside the confines of the matrimonial bed?

John Terry. Franck Ribery. Two of the biggest names in world football. And now Rooney. How much evidence is needed to see that rather outdated Catholic prescription for happiness is not exactly working?

What would be far more efficacious in helping players “settle down” is not paying them so much money so that the temptation to stray with £2000-a-night prostitute doesn’t come up in the first place.

Europe’s top footballers are paid and feted like rock stars. It’s a natural consequence, then, that many have adopted rock-star ways and rock-star attitudes.

Playing for a big club in Europe is really no different to playing in Guns N’ Roses or Motley Crue. If the top players want to have a good time, it’s there to be had with the most bodacious, fake-breasted, collagen-injected good-time girls available. They sure as hell can afford it. Few others can.

But to expect top clubs to stop paying top wages to top players is unrealistic.

What would be far more sensible is to change our social mindset, expect that these sorts of Rooney-type scandals are going to keep on happening and not being so bloody self-righteous about them when, invariably, they do.

Rooney is 24, not the sharpest tool in the shed, ugly as a sackful of squashed kittens and paid £90,000 a week. Is it really that surprising that when the prospect of a threesome with two attractive young girls was offered to him he pounced?

A nice counterpoint to Ferguson is Usain Bolt, the world’s top sprinter, a man the same age as Rooney but at this point in his life avowedly anti-marriage.

“I wouldn’t get married now. It would be awful,” he told the Guardian columnist Simon Hattenstone while promoting his autobiography last month.

“Wayne Rooney’s the same age as me – he's married and got a kid. I don’t think these guys are ready to get married yet.

“[Anglo-Saxon society puts] people under so much pressure. You guys set up [young athletes] by saying they’ve got to get married early. That’s the English way. But you’re not ready to settle down, and that’s where all the girlfriends come in, and all the problems. You do not want to get married at 22. Especially if you’re famous, because girls are going to be throwing themselves at you.”

Precisely. Whether those same girls are offering sex for £2000-a-night or completely free. Such temptations would be too much for a Buddhist monk, let alone a dimwitted young footballer.

Rooney is not a bad person and he doesn’t deserve the bollocking he’s getting in the British press.

He’s just another living example that making marriage vows too early can be just as big a mistake as breaking them.