My cousin Arling: The Strange Story of Albert Thealand

Along with quite a few achievements it has brought with it, technological development also has bad sides: social networks have separated us as people, created an emphasis on disagreements between people, and brought us a host of plank jokes on the family WhatsApp. But there is one thing that transcends them all – the “post-truth” era. Giving each person the opportunity to publish information about their own opinion, in contrast to the traditional mediation of the media (for all the problems it had with it), and the ease with which such information can be shared – spread quite a few false rumors that spread wings and gained momentum in general public opinion.

We already know the big examples: this is the White House that emphatically claimed that the inauguration of President Trump had the highest number of people (although the information was easily proven wrong), and the plethora of rumors circulating about the corona virus. And if football is the mirror of society, then the “Pike News” phenomenon has also reached it. For example, the case of Albert Thealand.

Arling Holland has in recent years become one of the hottest names in world football. Ever since he burst into consciousness as a player for the youth teams in Norway, through the incredible data in the Red Bull Salzburg media, the tremendous success in Borussia Dortmund (including four goals in the Champions League quarter-final clash against Sevilla) and rumors of moving to a bigger team in the near future, Holland has become a thriving football brand: His speed, breaking power, elegant precision in front of goal – all of these made him a “football monster”.


And the fact that Holland’s name preceded him also puts a focus on his 17-year-old cousin, Albert Thieland, who is now starting his playing career in the local homeland – a team in which Holland also grew up. The videos from the humble pitch of the youth team went far, the comparisons were already aired (“The Next Holland”) – and then we got to the “Pike News” stage: At one point, a tweet was posted on an anonymous Twitter account that Thailand holds the following crazy figure: 64 goals in Only 37 performances! The family connection and the link to the Dortmund star did their thing, reaching as far as leading media in world football – among them the “Marca” and the “Mundo Deportivo” of Spain.

But this figure, it turns out, is not really true. Ben Wells, who serves as a football analyst and industry expert in Norway, went on to check out Thailand’s real data (based on the local association’s website): when you look at the amount of games and goals – you reach 8 goals in 15 appearances. Nice numbers for these ages – but very far from the craziness and “hype” created by publishing the wrong data. “The statistics disseminated are false, or misunderstood, at best,” he said Wells.

The “brothers of” phenomenon is a well-known phenomenon in the world of sports: the people whose last name becomes a burden and they fail to meet the threshold of expectations (in this case, indirect and indirect) that it places. “This pressure does not help anyone,” Wells wrote, “certainly not to the player, who will have to withstand this hype all his life or be considered a failure.” And really, recent and distant history is full of players whose last name has weighed on them – and they have failed. For example, Digau – Kaka’s brother, Simona Inzaghi (Filippa’s brother, who over the years has become a successful coach), Onai Casillas and also Hugo Maradona. It is not easy to grow close to a star, which always produces the inevitable comparison.

Thailand, on the other hand, is trying to stay out of the spotlight. Recently, there have been rumors that he may be promoted to Molda’s senior staff. And it is very possible that he will eventually succeed in having a successful career, but if there is one thing we have learned from history – it is that sometimes it is worth releasing. For Thailand to determine its own destiny, and not according to the successes of its cousin (who is also a player in development). With all our desire to see stars born and fast, or to mark the “next star” – reality, in the end, is stronger than reality.

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