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Sandro Wagner hits out at social media and players who take football too seriously

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In an interview about family and children, Wagner expressed his alarm at the impact of social media and explained how he keeps perspective as a player.

Tianjin Teda v Dalian Yifang - Chinese Super League Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

Former Bayern Munich forward Sandro Wagner, who currently plays for the Chinese club Tiajin Teda poured scorn on the arrogance of some of his colleagues and particularly on the world of social media.

In a wide-ranging interview about family and career with t-online.de, the 31-year-old striker described how he once anonymously logged on to Instagram to find out what was going on there and was very disappointed by what he saw. Wagner described social media as “really big evil”:

I once logged on to Instagram anonymously during a training camp to see what goes on there. And I have to say: I’m at a loss for words. How people interact with one another there, so crudely, antisocially, senselessly. I have to ask myself, what is that supposed to lead to?

Wagner was particularly mystified by Instagram influencers “who earn money if I watch them eat breakfast.” As the father of three (soon to be four) children, Wagner feels that social media has a very negative impact on the lives of youngsters, “because it conveys a false image of life for children.” He said elaborated on that his fears for his own children:

I see the danger that our children become ever dumber and ultimately also unhappier because they chase after wrong role models who put on a slick glamour world. When all that maters is asking the Internet community and the pseudo-stars how I should cut my hair or can do up my face best in three minutes, then somethings going wrong.

And when I see these little Instagram gangsters with their gold chains... in real life, mommy has to come when there’s a problem.

Wagner is alarmed that “real contact with other people” is declining, with potentially negative consequences for society. “But maybe all that is just normal nowadays. And could be that I’m not normal,” he concluded.

Wagner also explained how he does not center his home life around football, in contrast to some of his colleagues and other football pros:

Football is almost not a topic at all with us at home. As a father, I don’t define myself at all through my profession. I always find it a little disturbing when colleagues decorate their whole living room like a football museum. Garbage men don’t have especially well-emptied garbage cans standing around, after all.

Some colleagues would do well to take themselves less seriously, Wagner argues:

I know that I sometimes come across as arrogant — especially to people who don’t know me well. But honesty and arrogance are two different pairs of shoes. What special thing do we footballers do? We can kick the ball well, or in my case sometimes the opponent [laughing]. I think it would be good if this or that colleague didn’t take himself so seriously. As people, we’re no different, for example, to those who care for our older generation for eight euros an hour.

Of course, that is not to say that football is banished from the Wagner household altogether. It’s part of the family routine. Asked how his children feel about his job, Wagner said,

Totally relaxed. For them it’s nothing special, especially since they’ve been used to it since birth. Only my son is getting more and more interested in soccer and often asks me about Joshua Kimmich. He’s his favorite player.

Not a bad choice!