UEFA president Michel Platini talks freely about football and the direction in which the sport is heading.
ESM: How do you view the Best Player award and the past season?
Michel Platini: It was important that we had a European prize and it was nice to be linked with ESM, because you [represent] journalists from all over Europe, and come together to vote on the best players.
I wanted it to be a real vote – so thank you to ESM for organising this. I think it’s a nice opportunity for everybody together to promote not only the best player, but also the magazines who promote the beauty of football.
It’s nice that we are together, and I am very proud and grateful for the collaboration, because I think it was, and still is a good idea.
As to how I see this past season, I can say that the football on the pitch is very good.
We now have the opportunity to see many games on TV all over the world, and people follow live matches all over Europe. Each Saturday and Sunday, we can see a good game in England, or Spain, or Italy, or Portugal, or France, or Germany; and we can also see football in Russia.
Then, at the end of the season, we have the UEFA Champions League final, which gives you the best of the best.
Today’s players are excellent, and I enjoy watching the games. There is positive football. There are not so many goalless draws – three points for a victory has proved a good idea, and people now play to win, rather than not to lose – as used to be the case for an old “Italian” like myself.
I enjoy today’s football. I have seen many games in 55 years, and it’s always a pleasure. The generations of players change, but you always have good players, good teams, good coaches, good tactics, and good club games.
Then the season is different, depending on where we are. In England, the show is better than in Italy – not perhaps the game, but the show, because in Italy the stadiums are empty owing to some problems.
When you see a game in England or Germany, you see that the pitch is beautiful, the stadium is full, you see that the game is tough, you see that the referee is good, and I think that this is very nice.
There are some differences. In France and Spain, they play differently to in England and Italy, but it’s always nice for the development of football, because the show that we give to the world – now that it’s worldwide from Europe – is beautiful. As president in Europe, I am very happy, and the Champions League is a consequence of all this football throughout Europe.