As a millennial, I have grown up with a mobile phone as an external organ.
I’m not suspicious of technology or overly cynical about its impact on our day-to-day lives.
Even so, this image fills me with great sadness…
How many of those fans are actually savouring the moment?
Lionel Messi, undoubtedly one of the greatest players ever, has just scored a goal at the Nou Camp, why would you detach yourself from the celebrations by experiencing it through a screen?
Sure, you may get 50 likes on your Instagram post, but your overriding memory of that moment will be of you fumbling for your phone, desperately snapping away.
Sadly, this is an all too common occurrence inside stadiums these days.
Penalties are the worst.
We might as well start calling them iPenalties and be done with it.
A referee pointing to the spot signals a mass photoshoot as fans seek to capture the special moment.
Except, it’s not so special, because everyone is on their phones.
This is the great irony of it all, people want to film the ‘wild’ celebrations but the footage actually features a few hundred docile, amateur cameramen.
I realise I’m being rather judgemental.
Each to their own, right?
Other fans viewing the game through their phone doesn’t detract from my matchday experience.
I just feel sad for them.
A photo or video to remember the occasion is great — I often wish I had more photos.
But those who are constantly filtering the game through a screen, or interrupting their celebrations, are surely ruining the moment for themselves?
Maybe they don’t feel that is the case.
Personally, I struggle to comprehend the concept that a load of likes on social media is somehow worth more than a emotive real-life experience.
This phenomenon occurs most noticeably at Old Trafford, the Bernabeu and the Nou Camp.
Man United, Real Madrid and Barcelona have global profiles and so, inevitably, they attract tourists who are not necessarily fans.
However, outstretched phones are an increasingly common sight in other stadiums.
Watching football live is one of life’s great joys — surrendering to the game and abandoning everything else for 90 minutes is as liberating as it is invigorating.
Please, don’t deny yourself this pleasure, keep your phone in your pocket.