El Grande Mikel
Mikel Arteta's agent has stated that the player intends to remain at Everton. 'He has a wife and child and is happy in the city.' Let us first assume that this statement is not a bid to raise his purchase price.
That being the case, then this latest position is illuminating and inspiring, irrespective of which club you support. Why? Because here is a man who views the wellbeing of his family as consisting of more than adding extra zeroes to his salary. Not only that, he is prepared to forgo the guaranteed increased exposure that would come through playing for a team in the Champion's League - exposure that might well hasten his ambition of inclusion in his national team. To really spell it out, because it is not something we see frequently, he is putting others above himself. He is displaying loyalty. This is nobility in action.
In an era when footballers take out injunctions to stop their misdeeds being publicised; when they hold out for money when they are receiving so much that the only real difference the increased sum can make is that they can buy a mansion with fourteen as opposed to eleven bedrooms with en suite; when they kiss their badges then leave 'for silverware,' usually thirty pieces of it, then this action becomes all the more meaningful.
Nobody is perfect, and Blackburn fans will point their fingers to his finger-poking, I'm sure. But the most fouled player in the Premier League did acknowledge his own wrong doing, and did not pretend to be utterly innocent of any malfeasance. The action may have been ignoble, but his subsequent actions were dignified.
But to return to more positive aspects. If this story is true then as an Everton supporter I have to say that it gladdens my heart as much as a cup tie win. If David Moyes is gathering about him not simply good players but also good men, then I would say that not only should Everton players feel honoured to play for the club, but the club should be honoured to have such men. It is not often that such sentiments are found in the post-Sky world of filthy lucre.
In Spain the title of Grandee (or Grande in Spanish) was one that set a nobleman apart from the other rich men of the land. It was an exalted position, according the holder special privileges. If this story is true, then Mikel Arteta is indeed a grandee. El Grande Mikel Arteta. There's nothing little about this Spaniard.