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"We're taking part in the virtualisation of football" | Philippe Auclair

Philippe Auclair points to Lionel Messi as an example of how football coverage has changed. It's less and less about what is happening on the field.

Lionel Messi and Neymar capture how the coverage of football is changing, according to Philippe Auclair.

French journalist Philippe Auclair joined The Football Show on Wednesday night to discuss the year in review.

When Lionel Messi's move to Paris St. Germain came up, Auclair expressed his frustration that the world's collective eyes are still on his generation. Auclair believes that the time of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi should have passed on by now. But they are still the biggest draws for media and they are still the biggest name players in the world.

Messi isn't destroying the French league. Ronaldo is playing for a Manchester United team that has regularly wondered if he should start.

Auclair pointed to an example from his own career to explain this new world of sports coverage.

"I work with a French radio station," Auclair explained.

"It has a spot reserved for international football on the weekends. We would start every single programme weekly, with a piece about Messi or Neymar. Regardless of whether anything had happened concerning them. That was the level of interest and we're talking about the national radio here.

"They were answering the desire of all the people of France, or at least they thought, to have all the information. About the type of car he's driving, how he's feeling, which school his children are going to. All those sort of things."

Neymar is the most popular soccer player in the world for non-soccer fans. Messi is a huge name who registers in the Americas too, but Neymar is known for his fashion, style and tricks as much as he is his football ability. He is a very, very good footballer too, but he's never been the best player in the world for a prolonged period.

His reputation suggests otherwise. It matters less and less what is happening on the pitch.

"And then you've got what happened on the pitch. As we speak, Lionel Messi has taken part in 10 games in Ligue 1 and he's scored one goal. Then you have these very strange scenes where people from PSG have to go from the media to explain that it was actually a really good idea to have him.

"PSG is running away with the title. And PSG is in the last 16 of the Champions League so we are in complete unreality.

"Which is not very surprising because we live in an unreal age...we're taking part in the virtualization of football."

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Lionel Messi Neymar PSG Philippe Auclair Soccer