Bale, Rooney, Aguero and the £10m per year club

Do footballers at Manchester United, City, Real Madrid really get paid too much? I think it’s time to take a step back and put things into perspective.

With the season up and running and the transfer window firmly shut until January it’s time to enjoy watching this season’s hot properties strutting their stuff on the pitch. However after another summer of multi-million pound deals and recording-breaking fees, it’s time to take a look at the money that footballers are presently earning and put it into perspective.

Players wages are at the centre of most discussions I have with non-football fans regarding the sport, usually kicked off with a comment along the lines of ‘How can they get paid so much for kicking around a blown up pig’s bladder’ or ‘He’s paid that much and can only use one foot!’

Now at first thought you might say these people have a point, with Gareth Bale moving to Real Madrid and pocketing approximately £300,000 every week it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the money in football is out of control and it’s a disgustingly decadent industry. Nowadays you cannot even counter that argument by claiming he is a one off.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure all take home over £10 million a year.

But is this really too much money for players of this quality?

Many football fans will see these figures in the context of the world they love where spending £11m on a player like Christian Eriksen is a bargain. However those not of a footballing persuasion will see the words 11m and bargain in the same sentence and project a mouthful of their morning coffee all over the sports pages.

I would take this a step further, I think it completely acceptable for players to earn this much money in today's world…

Football is a sport, a sport is something which entertains us, football entertains millions of people across the globe every single day. Movies also entertain millions of people across the world every single day. Now when was the last time you heard someone complain about the amount movie stars have been paid for their latest offerings?

Should one form of entertainment be less valued than another?

Leonardo DiCaprio earns on average $77m per movie, Johny Depp takes home $50m per Disney-themed flick and Adam Sandler manages to get away with earning $40m per film (even for Jack and Jill!) In today’s money $77m is roughly £48m, therefore Gareth Bale would have to play for Real Madrid for 3 whole years to earn as much as Leo took home from The Great Gatsby.

You have to take into account that a good actor could go on working until their 60s or 70s whereas a footballer has hung up his boots in his mid 30s so the gap in the wages expands over their lifetimes. Now I am a fan of the work of both of these men but surely this goes to show that the issue is not that footballers are paid too much, but in fact ‘entertainers’ are paid too much.

Teen sensation Justin Bieber has a net worth of over $130m, George Lucas has a net worth of £3.2bn and Jack Nicklaus is worth $280m. All entertainers, all talented and all in demand.

So why are footballers singled out as these pampered money-grabbing parasites? In my opinion they are just keeping up with the value the world places on entertainment, however do I believe this makes their wages acceptable?


But I also believe that film stars' fees are not acceptable, musician’s fees are not acceptable, the bonuses and salaries claimed by heads banks such as RBS are not acceptable! In my opinion it is a disgrace that these people can earn so much and yet doctors, nurses and teachers can work themselves into the ground for next to nothing.

I’m not saying these celebrities are not talents and do not deserve a reward, I am saying that the imbalance between these idols and the rest of us mere mortals should make us question what we really value in life. Don’t even get me started on the likes of the TOWIE cast!

I would say that in today’s world, in today’s economy footballers at the top of the game should be paid the salaries which fit in with the rest of the entertainment world. These players are gifted and talented, some would argue more so than some TV or movie stars so they should be rewarded in the same way.

However the money generated by the entertainment industries leaves me with an uneasy feeling about the economic world we live in. So the next time someone expresses their ‘disgust’ in the amount a professional footballer is paid ask them if they have seen ‘Jack and Jill’ and help them put it in perspective.

image: © nasmac

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch