For many years, football has been a changing game. Once seen as the game of the people, the latest ‘real-time soccer earnings’ infographic from BettingSitesUK shows a new kind of football. What kind of bricklayer or joiner do you know, for example, who is on $110m/year? Not many, we’ll wager. That, though, has become the way that football now operates on a daily basis. The best are paid the kind of sums of money that could run towns and communities.
While UEFA is in the midst of massive commercial change, football has been shown to be in an odd place financially. The rich are getting richer, while clubs from smaller leagues are marginalised. From the ideas for a new European competition to further separate the haves and have-nots, to the creation of a European Super League, we often see that football mirrors society. Those who already have are increasingly happy to stand on the necks of their less affluent competitors, just in a bid to make a few more bucks.
How else do you explain how clubs like Manchester United – despite falling into what can only be referred to as a competitive coma since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson – can still afford to pay Paul Pogba close to $30m/year?
This is the problem with football at the top level: the elite players earn incredible sums of money. Those a rung below the ladder are always keen to make that next step up, foregoing loyalty and pleasure in their project in exchange for more and more pounds. It’s the way of the world, and most justify it by saying things like, ‘Well, I’d leave my own job if I got offered double the money..’
Five figures earned per second: the reality of top level football
And while that might be fair, most of us aren’t already earning a dream annual salary every single week. It’s harder to justify someone on, say, $100,000 per week, demanding to leave so they can earn more. Unless you plan on become a major entrepreneur or trying to build your own nation, why would you need more than this?
It also explains why some footballers, from Oscar to Graziano Pelle through to Hulk, were happy to move to the Chinese Super League. The drop-off in profile and the inability to play in the UEFA Champions League in their peak years is a curious decision. However, when you see what they earn per second, you can see how they might be convinced to make the move.
And that is another part of the issue: players who could play at the very highest level will happily accept reduced standards and expectations in exchange for a larger pay packet. With the sport often about becoming building a financial portfolio instead of a trophy-laden legacy, it’s easy to see why so many fans feel so cynical about the modern game.
Maybe things will change in the future. Maybe, one day, we’ll see a more level financial playing field. Until then, get used to the top players earning your annual wage in a second.
Infographic source: https://www.betting-sites.uk.com/soccer-earnings/