Rise and Fall of Viral Fútbol Memes

(Disclaimer!! The term “futbol” will be used in place of “football” or “soccer”, so NFL fans won’t get triggered, and most importantly everybody else who’s not an American won’t get triggered.)

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This man is Mario Balotelli, a Ghanaian-born Italian futbol player. Aside from being a professional futbol player, Balotelli is also a master entertainer. From setting his hotel room on fire with fireworks to giving away his quarter-million-dollar Bentley for free, Balotelli lives the life of absurdity. This picture was taken during the Euro 2012 semi-final match up between Germany and Italy after Balotelli scored his second goal in the 35th minute. It’s to no one’s surprise that this quickly went viral, and in no time “Super-Mario” was on the front page of internet. With the help of Photoshop, memers quickly turned him from the fearsome Italian hero into everybody’s favorite clown.

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Like Balotelli, many other futbol players have been used as memes, like the diving Robben, the sassy Ronaldo, and the hungry Suarez. One things all of these futbol memes have in common is that once upon the time they are extremely popular, but quickly they are forgotten. Like mentioned by a Washington Post article, on the meme “ThanksObama”, “If a meme is popular, its life cycle is short“.  If we examine this category of memes more carefully, it not hard to realize that the majority of the futbol memes are event/match driven, usually a particular player gets thrown under the bus and suffers over-the-top criticism and abusive. However, why don’t the criticism stick? I believe that in the world of futbol, people tend to move on to the next big thing too easily: sure today Dele Alli is getting roasted for flipping off the referee, but tomorrow, when Diego Costa punches two defenders and gets a red card, everybody will point their fingers at him and forget about Dele Alli entirely. Unlike other categories of memes such as the “ThanksObama” meme, which fell from grace due to over use and corporate/government exploitation, futbol memes die out because they are no longer relevant. Why are they no longer relevant? Because people have too short attention span, they simply have to move on to something new and exciting every other day.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. irebound98 says:

    Futbol memes aren’t the only ones that fade quickly. But I believe they fade quickly because the sport provides so many opportunities for new “memeable” events that examples from a week or two ago are no longer relevant. The same can probably be said for most sports. There’s so much action that can be turned into a meme that old memes quickly fade as new ones take their place.


  2. rosetechweb says:

    Other sports memes die quickly too. I think it is due to peoples constant obsession with sports. There are new games every week to watch, which constantly puts previous headlines out of date. For futbol in particular, it is a very popular sport on a world wide scale. The vast amounts of futbol going on throughout the year constantly makes people talk about the absolute newest events. This is even more true for futbol than other sports like football in America. Football is mostly popular in America, while futbol is popular across the world.


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