(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.)
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.
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.